Bucklesource Inc, the manufacturer and wholesale distributor of leather fashion accessories, has filed a counterclaim in the Los Angeles Federal Court against its competitor Leegin Creative Leather Products Inc, the maker of Brighton fashion accessories. 

Bucklesource is asking the Court to invalidate Leegin's copyrights because they "lack originality and because the intent behind their registration was to prevent free and fair competition." It is also seeking punitive damages. 

The row dates back to November 2000 when Bucklesource was amongst a number of companies to be sued by Leegin for trade dress infringement and unfair competition relative to its Brighton line of fashion accessories. 

In July 2001 the complaint was amended to add copyright infringement claims against Bucklesource Inc and its president Richard A Siegler. Leegin claimed that the use of Victorian Era design motifs in its Brighton line entitles it to trade dress protection, and that Bucklesource should not be permitted to use Victorian Era ornamentation on its products.

In June 2002, the court ruled that the generic nature of Victorian Era designs did not entitle Leegin to legal protection against their use by competitors in the fashion accessory business, including personal leather goods, fashion giftwares and housewares.

In its counterclaim Bucklesource alleges that Leegin falsely identified itself as the originator of the artwork in its copyrighted jewellery designs, and in bad faith filed copyright registrations for designs which were either copied from others or which already existed in the public domain.