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SUCCESS GROUP INTERNATIONAL LEARNING ALLIANCE,
LLC, et al.,
CLOCKWORK IP, LLC,
| No. 19-6115|
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Middle District of Tennessee at Nashville.
No. 3:17-cv-00743—Jon Phipps McCalla, District Judge.
Argued: August 6, 2020
Decided and Filed: September 23, 2020
Before: SUHRHEINRICH, GIBBONS, and BUSH, Circuit Judges.
SUHRHEINRICH, Circuit Judge. Appellant Clockwork IP, LLC intervened in this
copyright case to claim that it—not the plaintiff and registered copyright holder Hiller, LLC1—
owned the allegedly-infringed work, a customer-service training guide for HVAC technicians
(the Guide). The jury rejected Clockwork’s sole request for relief: a declaration invalidating
Hiller’s copyright in the Guide.
Clockwork makes two arguments on appeal. First, Clockwork contends that the district
court erred by denying its motion for judgment as a matter of law because no reasonable juror
could have found that Hiller owns a copyright in any part of the Guide. Second, Clockwork
asserts that the district court improperly instructed the jury that Hiller could hold a copyright in
the Guide, even though it contained Clockwork-copyrighted material, so long as that material did
not “pervade the entire work.”
Clockwork is wrong on both points. The jury reasonably concluded that Hiller created
enough original material to gain copyright protection,3 and the district judge correctly instructed
the jury that the Guide’s incorporation of some Clockwork-copyrighted content did not
invalidate Hiller’s copyright in the Guide’s original parts. We affirm.