May 5, 2005
In an unusual case testing the Architecture
Works Copyright Protection Act of 1990, a jury awarded the
Los Angeles-based firm, Hablinski + Manion Architecture, (formerly
known as William Hablinski Architecture) approximately $5.9
million after plans for a Bel Air home theyd designed
were copied and adapted to a Beverly Hills site.
In mid-April, a jury determined that Amir Construction, Inc.,
and EuroConcepts, Inc., were guilty of conspiring to reproduce
house plans that originated in the Hablinksi office. The jury
found a preponderance of evidence that a Hablinski
employee had copied and adapted the original technical drawings
and elements of the architectural work for the $14 million
The fate of the former employee has yet to be determined,
as Hablinski + Manion is still seeking damages in a state
court arbitration proceeding.
The federal suit was filed in Fall 2003 and it alleged copyright
infringement, false advertising, conspiracy, and other claims.
William Hablinski is said to have spent 3,800 hours on the
While intellectual property cases are not unusual in the
entertainment industry, its uncommon for architects
to pursue litigation, despite the fact that infringements
are made on a regular basis.
This is a case where Mr. Hablinski wanted to put his
foot down, says Peter Bezek, Managing Partner at Foley
& Bezek, LLP, the Santa Barbara law firm handling the
case. Im proud that he stuck to his guns and remained
focused. Bezek says that he has been approached by other
architects in the past but has never litigated this type of
case because of the financial risk and emotional drain on