News & Analysis as of

Copyright Supreme Court of the United States

A Copyright is an exclusive legal right granted to the creator of an original work to license, copy, sell, distribute, or otherwise exploit the work for his or her own benefit.

Copyrighting Design Elements of a “Useful Item”: Lessons From Star Athletica

by Revision Legal on

In general, no copyright protection is available for the design of something that is “useful.” “Useful” is defined by the Copyright Act as something with “an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the...more

More Details on Matal v. Tam: Are Other Parts of The Lanham Act at Risk?

by Revision Legal on

As we recently discussed in June, the US Supreme Court declared the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act unconstitutional as a violation of the free speech clause of the First Amendment. In general, the disparagement clause...more

Intellectual Property Law - July 2017

SCOTUS: For Patent Venue, Domestic Corporations ‘Reside’ Where Incorporated - Why it matters: On May 22, 2017, the Supreme Court issued its decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC—rejecting...more

Social Links: SCOTUS strikes down law banning sex offenders from social media, denies cert in “dancing baby” case; Germany may...

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a North Carolina law that the state has used to prosecute more than 1,000 sex offenders for posting on social media is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment....more

Practice Tips for Copyright Owners in the Wake of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

After considering almost a year’s worth of substantive briefing (including fifteen separate amicus briefs), oral argument, at least ten distinct tests employed in courts throughout the country, as well as numerous novel tests...more

The Top Hits: Fashion Cases with a Big Impact

by Knobbe Martens on

Over the last year, there have been some significant trademark and copyright cases in the fashion industry. Below are summaries of recent cases all brand owners should know and understand. These cases touch on important...more

The Supreme Court Rolled Back Patent Venue — What Will Happen Now for Copyright?

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

The Supreme Court recently sounded the death knell for patent litigation in the Eastern District of Texas, overruling the Federal Circuit’s interpretation of 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) and dramatically reducing forum shopping in...more

Supreme Court Expands Patent Exhaustion, Leaving Many Unanswered Questions, Including Effects on Copyright Law's First-Sale...

by Lathrop Gage on

On May 30, 2017, the United States Supreme Court expanded the concept of patent exhaustion. Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc., No. 15-1189 (U.S. May 30, 2017)....more

You’ve Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated

by Foley & Lardner LLP on

The US Supreme Court’s ruling in Star Athletica v Varsity Brands provides a path to copyrightability for pictorial or graphical elements of clothing designs and useful articles. Laura Ganoza and Julie McGinnis of Foley &...more

Give Me an E: Cheerleading Uniform Designs Eligible for Copyright Protection

by McDermott Will & Emery on

In a 6–2 decision authored by Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court of the United States provided guidance as to whether aesthetic designs of a cheerleading uniform, such as stripes, chevrons, zigzags and color blocks, are...more

Entertainment Litigation Update - May 2017

Ninth Circuit Confirms That “Volitional Conduct” Is Still Required for Direct Copyright Infringement Post-Aereo. Earlier this year, in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Giganews, Inc., 847 F.3d 657 (2017), the Ninth Circuit re-affirmed...more

Something for Designers to (Maybe) Cheer About: Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

Historically, fashion designers, as well as other designers whose creative efforts are incorporated into useful/functional articles like clothing, shoes, and furniture, have struggled successfully to assert copyright...more

How Does the Supreme Court’s Recent Ruling on Incontinence Products Spill Over into Fashion?

by Knobbe Martens on

On March 21, 2017 the Supreme Court issued a monumental holding removing the availability of laches as a defense in a claim for damages under patent infringement. The case changes decades of legal precedent, and adopts...more

Supreme Court Announces Broad Separability Test in Applying Copyright Law to Useful Articles

by Ward and Smith, P.A. on

This article continues the discussion in an earlier article addressing the scope of copyright protection as it applies to useful goods under copyright law. At the time the first article was written, Varsity Brands, Inc. v....more

Supreme Court Says ‘Give Me a ©’ to the Fashion Industry

by Goulston & Storrs PC on

A recent U.S. Supreme Court copyright decision analyzing cheerleader uniforms may have a profound impact on retailers, and on the fashion industry in particular. On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held in Star Athletica,...more

Separating Art from Function: Supreme Court Creates Copyright Test for Designs

by Holland & Knight LLP on

In a landmark 6-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved "widespread disagreement" among lower courts and held that the artistic elements in a functional article ­– such as the cheerleading uniform at issue in this case –...more

MoFo IP Newsletter - April 2017

by Morrison & Foerster LLP on

Supreme Court Restricts the Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Patent Law for Exported Goods - On February 22, 2017, the Supreme Court in a landmark decision held that the supply of a single component of a multicomponent...more

Cheerleader Uniform Designs Protectable Under Copyright Act

The Supreme Court recently held in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., that the designs on certain cheerleader uniforms may be protected copyrights. The 6-2 decision clarified the test to be applied when...more

A Game Played Proactively

Having read the recent Supreme Court decision of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands and the new unified test for copyright protectability in useful articles, we can now turn to the challenge of what actual changes will result...more

Supreme Court Establishes Test for Copyrightability of Two-Dimensional Designs Incorporated Into Useful Articles in Star Athletica...

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court established a test for determining whether a design that is incorporated into a useful article is entitled to copyright protection. In its much-awaited opinion in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v....more

Media Law Bulletin: “When I Say Design, You Say Copyright! Supreme Court Ruling in Cheerleader Uniform Case to Provide Extra...

by Sedgwick LLP on

Fashion designers around the nation are likely cheering after reading the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Varsity Brands, Inc. v. Star Athletica LLC. That case involved whether the two-dimensional designs on...more

Supreme Court Broadens Copyright Eligibility For Design Elements, Including Artwork On Clothing

by Goodwin on

Summary - In Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., 580 U.S. ___ (2017), the Supreme Court clarified the test for whether artistic features of a useful article are separable and therefore copyright eligible. The...more

Some Copyright Clarity for the Apparel Industry - The Supreme Court provides a test for measuring when graphic features on...

Last week the Supreme Court articulated a test for the copyrightability of apparel designs. The test does not increase the protection available to the apparel industry, but it does provide clarity for determining when an...more

Sis-Boom-Bah: U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Cheerleader Uniform Design Elements May Be Eligible for Copyright Protection

by K&L Gates LLP on

In a decision that clarifies one controversial aspect of copyright and fashion law, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that certain design elements of cheerleader uniforms may be eligible for copyright protection. The...more

U.S. Supreme Court Says That Lines, Chevrons, and Colorful Shapes on Cheerleader Uniforms Are Copyrightable

by Knobbe Martens on

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, issued their opinion on Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands. The Court affirmed the 6th Circuit, holding that the lines, chevrons, and colorful shapes of Varsity’s...more

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