Last week a federal jury in Fresno, Calif., awarded Utah-based Flying J Inc $7.7 million for the infringement of its floor plan design.

Flying J sued Central California Kenworth of Fresno and its owner, Tommy G. Pistacchio, who own a truckstop in Madera, Calif., which Flying J said was based on a copy of its signature floor plan.
"Flying J's floor plan was developed over many years," said Flying J's lawyer, Ronald S. Katz. "Like the recent Napster decision, this verdict sends a strong message that courts and juries understand the value of intellectual property."
Flying J, the country's largest diesel fuel retailer, operates over 115 truckstops, most of which are based on the copyrighted design that was infringed. Evidence at trial showed that Flying J could generate significantly more revenue than its competitors with a fewer number of
"When you're talking about a facility that is open every minute of the year and that incurs a fully loaded annual cost of $75,000 per minimum wage employee, the savings from an efficient floor plan run into the tens of millions of dollars," said Katz. "That is why Flying J protected
its floor plan with a copyright."
Pistacchio has already appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the Fresno Bee. Pistacchio's lawyer, Sam Shepherd, told the paper that Flying J allowed Pistacchio to go ahead with the truckstop even though it had seen the architectural plans. Shepherd characterized Pistacchio as the victim, first of the architect that copied elements of Flying J's plan without Pistacchio's knowledge, and now of Flying J.