The Copyright Act

News & Analysis as of

Break Out the Pom-Poms

We’re all familiar with the sight. Your team is down in the final minutes of the game but within striking distance. The coach calls a timeout, huddling up the team. The fans are silent. Out runs the cheerleading squad...more

Supreme Court Update: Endrew F. V. Douglas County School District (15-827), Star Athletica, L.L.C. V. Varsity Brands, Inc....

Greetings, Court Fans! This morning, the Court issued its decision in Moore v. Texas (15-797), an important death-penalty case holding that Texas's outdated standard for determining whether a death-row inmate is...more

Who’s Got the Spirit?! Supreme Court Decides Star Athletic, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc.; New Two-Part Test Seeks to Clear Up the...

On March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas in Star Athletic, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., held that “a feature incorporated into the design of a useful article is...more

Supreme Court Holds Cheerleader Uniform Designs Are Copyrightable

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held that decorative designs affixed to cheerleader uniforms may be entitled to copyright protection under the Copyright Act of 1976. The decision determined the proper approach to...more

Supreme Court Rules Cheerleading Uniform Designs Are Copyrightable

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc. that design elements of cheerleading uniforms may be protected under the Copyright Act. The 6-2 decision, written by Justice Thomas,...more

Supreme Court Affirms That Designs Of Cheerleading Uniforms Are Copyrightable

As we previously blogged, the Sixth Circuit held in 2015, that the colors, stripes, chevrons, and similar graphic designs of the plaintiff’s cheerleading uniforms “are copyrightable pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works”...more

SCOTUS Agrees that Cheerleading Uniform Designs Are Eligible for Copyright Protection

In a 6-2 decision authored by Justice Thomas, the US Supreme Court has now provided guidance as to whether aesthetic designs, such as stripes, chevrons, zigzags and color blocks of a cheerleading uniform are eligible for...more

Cheering on the Fashion Industry: U.S. Supreme Court Issues Landmark Copyright Decision That Will Have Deep Implications for...

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court decided that federal copyright protection applies to cheerleading-apparel designs. The decision, which has far-reaching implications for the fashion and sports industries, sets a new and...more

Supreme Court Finds Cheerleading Uniform Designs Copyrightable

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc. that designs on cheerleading uniforms may be protectable under the Copyright Act. The Court's 6-2 decision, clarifying the...more

Varsity Brands Earns Hard-Fought Win in Supreme Court Ruling Designs on Cheerleading Uniforms Are Copyrightable

The United States Supreme Court, in the case Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., et al., Case No. 15-866, ruled in a 6-2 opinion that two-dimensional designs incorporated onto three-dimensional useful articles (here,...more

Two Bits, Four Bits, Six Bits, a Dollar, Cheer Uniforms are Copyrightable, Stand Up and Holler!

In Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., (2017), the Supreme Court affirmed the Sixth Circuit that the two dimensional designs appearing on the surface of Varsity’s cheerleader uniforms were copyrightable....more

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Decorative Elements Can Be Copyrighted

On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6 to 2 decision, affirmed a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in favor of Varsity Brands, Inc., et al. (Varsity). The Supreme Court...more

SCOTUS Finds Cheerleader Designs Copyrightable

In a highly anticipated decision, the Supreme Court of the United States held on March 22, 2017 that the “pictorial, graphic or sculptural features” of the “design of a useful article” can be protected by copyright under...more

Supreme Court Decides Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc.

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., No. 15-866, holding that artistic designs on cheerleading uniforms were eligible for copyright...more

SCOTUS Determines That Decorations on Cheerleading Uniforms Are Conceptually Separable From Uniforms and Eligible For Copyright...

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a 6-2 ruling in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., et al., holding the decorative elements on Varsity Brands’ cheerleading uniforms were...more

Supreme Court Outlines New Test for Copyrightability of Useful Articles

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc. significantly expands copyright protection for useful articles. On March 22, 2017, the US Supreme Court set out a new standard for copyrightability...more

Supreme Court Rejects Laches as Bar to Damages for Timely Asserted Patent Infringement Claims

The Supreme Court has narrowed the scope of the laches defense in patent infringement actions, aligning its interpretation of laches under the Patent Act with that under the Copyright Act....more

Client Alert: Supreme Court Finds Cheerleading Uniforms Copyrightable in Landmark Apparel Copyright Case

In the first apparel copyright case ever considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the high court found on March 22, 2017 that decorative elements of a cheerleading uniform could be...more

Give me…“Separability!” Supreme Court Holds Cheerleading Uniform Designs Copyrightable

The Supreme Court, in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., 580 U.S. ___ (2017), resolved “widespread disagreement” among the circuits, and adopted a single test to determine the copyrightability of designs...more

Hip, Hip, Hooray for Copyrightable Decorative Elements

After months of standing on the sidelines of the most closely watched case impacting the fashion industry in recent years, legal practitioners and fashion designers now have a framework for protecting decorative elements of...more

United States Supreme Court Confirms Works of Art Incorporated Into Useful Articles Are Protected Under Copyright Law

Copyright law has long provided protection for original works of art. There has been some uncertainty as to whether this protection is extended to artistic features that are incorporated into useful articles, which are not...more

V-I-C-T-O-R-Y for the Fashion Industry: SCOTUS Establishes Uniform Test for Protection of Artistic Works Applied to Apparel

The overall design (such as the shape and cut) of a garment, bag or shoe is not protectable under current U.S. Copyright law because such items are considered “useful articles.” However, Section 101 of the Copyright Act...more

Litigation Alert: Supreme Court Clarifies Copyright Eligibility for Useful Articles

While much of the legal press may be speculating about the future of the Supreme Court’s Chevron test, yesterday the Court considered a very different kind of “chevron”—a design on a cheerleader uniform. In Star Athletica LLC...more

Supreme Court Defines Test for Copyright Eligibility of Useful Article Design Features

Yesterday, in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the Supreme Court resolved an issue that previously had been the subject of “widespread disagreement” in the federal courts—the proper test for determining when a...more

Supreme Court Expands Copyright Protection for Designs Originally Produced on Useful Articles

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court (in a 6-2 decision) ruled that a stripes and chevron pattern on a cheerleading uniform may be eligible for copyright protection and that the separability test under 17 U.S.C. §101 did not...more

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