The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York has affirmed a federal district court’s dismissal of a copyright infringement claim launched after a reality show featured virtual images of designer furniture. Selling New York is reality show on Home and Garden Television (HGTV) that follows Manhattan real estate brokers selling properties with average prices exceeding $2 million. Andre Joyau is a designer furniture line with clientele including Donna Karan, Sydney Pollack and Playboy Magazine. In 2010, Plesko & Rael, an architecture firm that works with Core, a real estate agency featured on the HGTV show, pitched Andre Joyau on featuring its products on Selling New York. That deal that fell through when Heptagon Furnitures, Andre Joyau’s corporate parent, says Core refused to insure items to be loaned for the show. During the 2010-2011 show season,  virtual images of the pieces were featured in the sale of a Park Avenue condominium worth almost $6 million. Heptagon sued in federal court — thanks to Courthouse News for posting key documents in the case — asserting copyright violations on nine key pieces of furniture featured on the show. As stated in the claim,  for the court to find  infringement, a plaintiff must “allege facts sufficient to demonstrate that 1) it owns a valid copyright; and 2) defendant has, without authorization, copied the copyrighted work.” This claim fell on the first point as U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain found Heptagon lacked a copyright registration. The judge also tossed an alternate theory of infringement — that featuring the furnishings on the show violated part of the Lanham Act because it muddied consumers’ view of who owned rights to the goods. The judge said Heptagon failed to assert its furniture was nonfunctional, that it has secondary meaning and or there was a likelihood of confusion between its goods and others shown. The three-judge appellate panel affirmed, with U.S. Circuit Judges Guido Calabresi, Debra Ann Livingston and Gerard Lynch stating, “Heptagon designed its furniture with an eye toward utility, making the pieces unsuitable for copyright protection.”