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Not a sweet litigation ending for PopSugar

Consumer-focused media and technology entity PopSugar is embroiled in litigation that alleges broad-based infringement, misappropriation and contractual interference against it.

The company has pushed hard to dismiss the multiple claims it faces, but to no avail. A California federal court decided against it last week, ruling that its motion to dismiss a plaintiff’s case must be denied.

What fashion blogger Nita Mann contends in her filing is that PopSugar unlawfully copied Instagram images of her and other so-called “influencers” and used them for monetary gain.

Mann’s complaint states that the media company removed links connected to those images that hooked up followers with shoppable products and enabled the influencers to profit. A media account addressing the lawsuit states that PopSugar then allegedly “reposted the same images with new links that allowed PopSugar to profit [from] purchased items.”

Mann’s claim seeks class action status. That certification would allow her to proceed on behalf of both herself and all other similarly treated influencers.

Mann’s complaint is multi-pronged, as follows.

For starters, it alleges copyright infringement, an argument the court agreed with in its ruling denying PopSugar’s motion to dismiss. The complaint also asserts a trademark violation under the federal Lanham Act, with Mann stressing that PopSugar’s act created a false affiliation with influencers that confused consumers.

Last, the filing is also grounded in claims of unfair competition and contractual interference. The court allowed those claims to survive PopSugar’s motion because they relate directly to the company’s “alleged removal of monetized links” from influencers’ images.

The case is ongoing.

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