Written By: Alana M. Fuierer for the Daily Record
Copyright protection requires, among other things, that the original “work of authorship” be non-functional. Over 60 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Mazer v. Stein, a pivotal decision for protecting designers against knock-offs and copycats under the Copyright Act.
In Mazer, the Court held that sculptural, non-functional features of a design are copyrightable even if they are part of a useful article – whether it be an armoire, laminated flooring, a belt buckle, a costume, or a lighting fixture.
Twenty years after Mazer, Congress amended the Copyright Act to expressly clarify that the design of a useful article, …. shall be considered a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article. 17 U.S.C. § 101 (emphasis added).
Read the Complete Article Here.