Utah Designer Claims Bristol-Myers Squibb Infringed on Legally Protected Creative Work

Corrine Ellsworth-Beaumont filed a Copyright Act lawsuit against defendant Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) on Monday in the Southern District of New York. The complaint alleges that the defendant illegally copied illustrative artwork rendered by the plaintiff, a “leading expert in breast health communication design.”

The filing explains that Ellsworth-Beaumont has “developed various visual guides that explain concepts relating to cancer using common objects such as fruits and plants.” One of these creative works, the plaintiff claims, employs a dandelion as the main metaphor. In the “Dandelion Works,” the plaintiff “compares the different methods of treating a dandelion outbreak (e.g., using a general weed killer, using a targeted weed killer, digging the dandelions up, etc.) with different methods of treating breast cancer (e.g., chemotherapy, hormone therapy, surgery, etc.).”

The filing claims that the Dandelion Works are “well-known in the pharmaceutical community that focuses on cancer treatments.” Ellsworth-Beaumont has also allegedly displayed and published the Dandelion Works at cancer conferences since 2015.

The complaint avers that BMS “is an international pharmaceutical company that manufactures and markets a wide variety of drugs and medical treatments, including treatments for various types of cancer.” The plaintiff states that BMS attended one or more medical conferences at which the Dandelion Works were displayed. 

The plaintiff purportedly discovered that the defendant copied her work at an unspecified date, and used them in marketing materials that promote its immuno-oncology treatments. The complaint depicts several examples, including the following, that show the original work alongside BMS’ version.

On April 21, the plaintiff sent BMS a letter advising it “that its materials infringe Plaintiff’s copyrights and demanding that Defendant cease using materials derived from the Dandelion Works.” Yet, BMS refused to comply, the complaint avers.

The plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and damages for the alleged copyright infringement. She is represented by Merchant & Gould P.C.