Not (Necessarily) Narrower: Rethinking the Relative Scope of Copyright Protection for Designs

by Sarah Burstein, University of Oklahoma (Norman Campus)

from Volume 3, Issue 2 (Spring 2013)

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Abstract: This Essay briefly reviews the relevant portions of U.S. design patent and copyright law and the limiting copyright doctrines discussed by prior commentators. Based on this preliminary analysis, this Essay concludes that a right to prevent copying designs could be just as broad as— if not broader than—design patent protection. If this is true, then many of the arguments made in support of adopting a copyright-like regime to protect designs need to be reexamined.