Intellectual Property Law

New Matter SUMMER 2017 Volume 42, Number 2

Ninth Circuit Report

Mintz Levin

Happy Summer, New Matter readers! This issue of the Ninth Circuit Report deals with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Star Athletica L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, the copyright case that deals with cheerleading uniforms and has far-reaching implications.

As those who are reading this likely know, Copyright law protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression "from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device."1 One of the categories of works of authorship that has the ability to be copyrighted is "pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works."2 Unless the utilitarian aspects of the article can be separated from, and exist independently of, the article’s component features or elements, they cannot be copyrighted.3 Indeed, Congress has not provided copyright protection for industrial designs.4


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