Copyright Act—Useful Articles
Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., No. 15-866
The Copyright Act does not protect the “design of a … useful article,” but the “pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features” of a useful article can be copyrighted if they can be “identified” and “exist independently of the utilitarian aspects of the article.” 17 U.S.C. § 101. In Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., No. 15-866, the Supreme Court granted review to settle a circuit split over the appropriate test for determining when a design feature of a useful article qualifies for copyright protection. The creation of a single test should provide stability and predictability for industries that use unique artistic design features to market products.