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Series

Intellectual Property Law

Columbia Law School

Intellectual property

2017

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Whole Is More Public Domain Than The Parts?: Us Copyright Protection For Works Of Applied Art Under Star Athletica's Imagination Test, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2017

The Whole Is More Public Domain Than The Parts?: Us Copyright Protection For Works Of Applied Art Under Star Athletica's Imagination Test, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

In Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve confusion in the lower courts regarding the “separability” predicate to copyright protection of decorative features of useful articles. The case involved the “surface decorations” of stripes, chevrons, and color blocks applied to cheerleader uniforms. While the Supreme Court clarified the meaning and application of the “separability” standard for the kinds of decorative elements there at issue, the fate of other artistic “features” of useful articles, particularly their three dimensional forms, remains murky. Much of the Court’s analysis points toward a prophylactic rule excluding the entire shape ...


Intellectual Property As Seen By Barbie And Mickey: The Reciprocal Relationship Of Copyright And Trademark Law, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2017

Intellectual Property As Seen By Barbie And Mickey: The Reciprocal Relationship Of Copyright And Trademark Law, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

Some years ago, caselaw on trademark parodies and similar unauthorized “speech” uses of trademarks could have led one to conclude that the law had no sense of humor. Over time, however, courts in the US and elsewhere began to leaven likelihood of confusion analyses with healthy skepticism regarding consumers’ alleged inability to perceive a joke. These decisions did not always expressly cite the copyright fair use defense, but the considerations underlying the copyright doctrine seemed to inform trademark analysis as well. The spillover effect may indeed have been inevitable, as several of the cases in which the fair use defense ...