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The original ‘Jumpman’ image from 1985.

A federal appellate court has upheld a decision tossing out a photographer’s lawsuit claiming Nike Inc. infringed his copyright of a photograph of Michael Jordan when commissioning its own photo to design the “Jumpman” logo used on Jordan-branded shoes and apparel.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday affirmed a lower court decision that found Nike didn’t infringe Jacobus Rentmeester’s copyright to a photo of a picture he shot of Jordan when he was still a student at the University of North Carolina. Although the court found Rentmeester could claim a valid copyright to his image and a presumption that the similar Nike photo was the product of copying rather than independent creation, it further found that Rentmeester couldn’t show that Nike copied enough of the protected expression from his photo to establish an unlawful appropriation.

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Ross Todd

Ross Todd is the Editor/columnist for the Am Law Litigation Daily. He writes about litigation of all sorts. Previously, Ross was the Bureau Chief of The Recorder, ALM's California affiliate. Contact Ross at [email protected] On Twitter: @Ross_Todd.

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