The lawsuit was sparked by sports clothing manufacturer Varsity Brands filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against competitor Star Athletica claiming that it ripped off patterns used in its cheerleading uniforms. However, the district court ruled that Varsity could not copyright its designs because they were a useful article and didn’t qualify for copyright protection.
The Sixth Circuit, however, took a different approach. They said that the stripes, chevrons and other elements could be treated as any other type of artwork, further noting that copyright protects fabric patterns already.
This is pretty interesting, the stripes, chevrons and other elements were outside the utilitarian purpose of the clothing. You can’t copyright a sewing pattern for example, anyone can make an identical “design”.
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