Are automobile interior designs eligible for copyright protection? Last month, we wrote about the Copyright Office Review Board’s (CORB’s) allowance of the registration of a three-dimensional pattern for an automotive floor mat. Does this mean that every little feature of your car is now eligible for copyright protection?
Tag Archives: Copyright
Star Athletica and the Expansion of Useful Article Protection: Copyright Office Permits Registration of Automotive Floor Liner
The Supreme Court’s decision in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands established a new and simplified test for determining whether useful articles can obtain copyright protection. Many have wondered, in the year since it was decided, about the practical effect of the ruling. Are there really that many items that would not have merited protection before Star Athletica, but that will get it now? … More
What does the generalist in-house counsel need to know about copyright? While patents and trademarks often receive the lion’s share of an organization’s intellectual property focus, copyrights comprise a critical third prong to a healthy overarching IP strategy – even for companies whose products and services involve little or no content creation.
It’s been a while since we felt compelled to revisit the topic of political fair use, that is, the extent to which the use of copyrighted works in political campaigns qualifies as a fair use pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 107. Back in 2014, we discussed the Northern District of California’s holding that the use of a candidate’s photograph by her political enemies was fair use.… More
Earlier this week, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals released its blockbuster decision in Oracle America, Inc. v. Google LLC, which held that Google’s unauthorized use of certain aspects of Oracle’s Java software was not fair use. In the past few days and in the coming weeks, nearly every lawyer who has ever had occasion to turn to Title 17 is going be writing,… More
It’s been a few years since we first wrote about the 5Pointz dispute, where graffiti artists first tried to prevent the destruction of their works by the owner of the spray-painted buildings, and then sought money damages for their destruction. Gerald Wolkoff, who initially allowed and encouraged the creation of the artwork on his buildings, is widely portrayed as the “bad guy” in this story. … More
On past Presidents’ Days, we have discussed the critical roles in the development of U.S. copyright law played by Abraham Lincoln (who extended copyright protection to photographs) and George Washington (whose correspondence was at the center of the dispute that gave rise to the fair use doctrine). This year, it’s Gerald Ford’s turn to ascend to our Mount Rushmore of Copyright.… More
Congratulations to Trademark and Copyright Law Blog co-editor Natasha Reed and author Josh Jarvis on their appointment as Co-Chairs of Foley Hoag’s Trademark, Copyright & Unfair Competition practice group. To celebrate their ascension, we asked them to interview each other about their practices, their histories, and their thoughts on trademark and copyright law.
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Natasha: First question!… More
In my never-ending quest to write articles that my children would read, I bring you the case of Grumpy Cat.
The guardians of Grumpy Cat (whose actual name is Tardar Sauce), through its company, Grumpy Cat Limited, developed a cottage business in commercially exploiting the likeness of Grumpy Cat for use on, among other things, T-shirts, coffee mugs, books and calendars. … More
If you are a lawyer, there is a serious danger that someone at the Super Bowl party you attend is going to want to talk about an NFL-related legal issue. Did Cowboys owner Jerry Jones really have standing to challenge Commissioner Roger Goodell’s salary package? What is the status of Colin Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit?… More
January 15 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, marking what would have been the 89th birthday of the great civil rights leader and Baptist minister. Although copyright is not (and should not be) the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Dr. King, the impact of his legacy on copyright law ought to be somewhere on the list. Indeed, Dr. King’s name has popped up as the litigant,… More
Are you sick and tired of the Christmas spirit? Apparently, you are not alone. Meet Matthew Lombardo, the author of a comedic play called Who’s Holiday! Billed as “the show Dr. Seuss doesn’t want you to see,” Who’s Holiday! is a one-woman play running Off-Broadway until December 31 featuring Cindy-Lou Who as a down-and-out, hard-drinking, Who-Hash-smoking, 45-year old woman recovering from her disastrous relationship with the Grinch.… More
This is a tough time of year if you are an intellectual property lawyer who likes to dress up. Anyone who knows about your job will be unable to resist lame and legally incorrect jokes about your Halloween costume. If you wear a Mohawk wig, they will quip that you are infringing Mr. T’s copyright. If you wield a sword and don a fur coat, they will ask if you had permission to use the “patent” from Game of Thrones.… More
When Judge Richard Allen Posner abruptly retired from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals last month, we were so caught off guard that it took a few weeks to get our tribute machine up and running. Why a tribute to Posner on the Trademark and Copyright Law Blog? Well, among the many legal areas profoundly influenced by this prolific jurist and author (the list of areas he did not affect would almost certainly be shorter),… More