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The Devil is in the Details

"There's just one more thing ..."

That’s what the unassuming Lieutenant Columbo would say at the end of those TV detective shows – right before he’d unravel the mystery and expose the guilty party.

The audience knew what was coming.

The perpetrators never did. They thought they’d committed the perfect crime.

But there was always one little detail that didn’t quite make sense to the brilliant homicide investigator. And he would dig and dig until he uncovered the whole nefarious plot.

That really only happens on TV – or does it?

Loeb & Loeb’s IP litigators have defended a number of high-profile entertainment clients – recording artists, music publishers and major motion picture companies – in copyright infringement cases where the other side’s claims seemed pretty airtight.

Except that they weren’t. Just like Columbo, Loeb & Loeb was able to prove that the infringement claims were elaborate frauds.

There was the “artist” who claimed that the characters from an animated blockbuster film (now with box-office smash sequels) were copied from drawings that he made in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. We uncovered evidence that the plaintiff had traced his “original” artwork from a 1996 Disney coloring book and backdated the drawings to fabricate the copyright claim. The plaintiff dropped his suit once we brought evidence of his fraud to light, but his attempts to defraud a public company caught the eye of the Department of Justice – and last year the government indicted him.

There have even been cases in which unknown “songwriters” have sued our clients, claiming that hit songs were copied from their earlier works. In one case, we were able to show that the plaintiff had created his supposed “original”

work by sampling parts of our clients’ song – and tried to destroy evidence of his fraud by getting rid of the computer equipment he used to make the copy. In another recent case, we tracked down witnesses from halfway around the globe to unravel the story of how the plaintiff had created a fake cassette tape of “his” song and paid witnesses to lie for him.

How do we uncover these schemes?

Like Columbo, we know the devil is in the details. We track down witnesses. We use technology and experts to check out the plaintiff’s claims. Uncovering this evidence is difficult and time-consuming, but it’s critical in defending our clients against fraudulent claims.

But unlike the fictitious Columbo character, Loeb’s IP litigators are real lawyers defending clients in real cases. We also dress a lot better than Columbo did.