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
Tag Archives: useful article doctrine
Last year, the District Court in Home Legend v. Mannington Mills gave three reasons for its holding that the designs on faux-hardwood flooring material, which are intended to look like real maple floors, were not subject to copyright protection. On April 29, 2015, however, a unanimous Eleventh Circuit decision held that these reasons were against the grain, and shipped the matter back to District Court for pulping.… More
Once a piece of clothing has been styled, cut and shaped according to a designer’s vision, it is a form of expression arguably no less worthy of copyright protection than say, a photograph, painting, or poem. However, the “useful article” doctrine generally denies copyright protection for aspects of clothing design that are considered inherently functional or “utilitarian.” So, for example, the two-dimensional pattern on a dress may be copyrightable,… More
So, I hear you are selling Halloween costumes, the designs for which you copied from another manufacturer. Well, gather around the fire, because I have a very scary story to tell you.
Chosun International was the manufacturer of impossibly cute animal costumes for children, featuring plush sculpted hoods and sleeves shaped like various animals’ heads and paws. In 2002, Chosun sued one of its competitors for copying these designs.… More