Following the discovery of a broad pattern of unauthorized copying of evaluation reports and other proprietary material that promote public safety in the built environment, ICC Evaluation Service, LLC (ICC-ES), a subsidiary of the International Code Council (ICC), filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). The lawsuit alleges that over the last several years, IAPMO has extensively and repeatedly copied ICC-ES’ copyrighted evaluation reports and acceptance criteria that thousands of designers, manufacturers, and building safety and fire prevention professionals rely on to ensure the highest standards of construction safety across the United States.
ICC-ES is the leading evaluation service in the U.S. for innovative building materials, components and systems. ICC is a member-focused association that develops model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures.
According to the complaint, IAPMO reproduced substantial portions of ICC-ES’ copyrighted materials and incorporated them into competing products under the IAPMO name. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to force IAPMO to stop its unauthorized copying of ICC-ES’ materials, and to immediately discontinue promotion and distribution of IAPMO’s imitative products.
“The reputation of the ICC Family of Companies, and the public’s confidence in all Standards Developing and Conformity Assessment Organizations, rests on our collective commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and transparency,” said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. “IAPMO’s repeated practice of passing off the work of others as its own is deeply troubling, and raises serious questions about its commitment to those values.”
“Having exhausted all other avenues, we are now prepared to let the courts resolve this matter,” added Code Council Board of Directors President Alex Olszowy, III, with the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government in Lexington, Ky. “We have expressed our concerns about this issue directly to IAPMO leadership on numerous occasions, but their efforts to date have been unsatisfactory and we have concluded that IAPMO continues to infringe copyrighted ICC-ES materials.”
In an e-mail sent to Code Council members informing them of the lawsuit, Sims and Olszowy emphasized the importance of upholding the integrity of the processes behind ICC-ES, and the need for all standards organizations to operate as models of principle and integrity to maintain their position as stewards of the nation’s built environment. They also expressed frustration that, despite numerous good faith attempts to resolve the matter, ICC was left with no choice but to file a lawsuit.