Fashion and apparel have long existed in a cloud of copyright confusion. Clothing often incorporates design elements, which may be protectable, and functional elements, which aren’t. The U.S. Supreme Court has now established a two-part test intended to resolve “widespread disagreement” regarding copyright protection for such “industrial designs.”
Vocabulary matters in the courts, as one company found out recently. According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the term “volitional conduct” has nothing to do with voluntary actions when it comes to direct copyright infringement. The court explained the meaning in a case where it also denied a copyright holder’s secondary liability claims for infringement.