The Platonic Ideal of a Cheerleader's Uniform, Adult Diapers, and Intellectual Property Law

Fans of fetish wear might want to tune in when the Supreme Court takes up two cases that were added to the docket on May 2, 2016.

These two cases will likely matter most to copyright lawyers and pervs. 

(There is probably a Venn diagram, illustrating that sexual perverts who are also lawyers are the core audience for this post, but I don't want to think about that any longer than I have to... instead...)

Here are the two cheerleader uniforms whose similarities triggered the first case:
In that case, Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the court will consider cheerleader uniforms (and when a feature of a useful article is protectable under section 101 of the Copyright Act - specifically where to draw the line when it comes to copyright interests in "works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects are concerned"). 




In the second new case, SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, the court will take up adult diapers (and when delays in filing an intellectual property infringement lawsuit might invoke the legal defense of laches, protecting a defendant when a plaintiff has been unreasonably slow in asserting a claim). 

The diaper case can be seen as a follow-up to a copyright ruling from 2014 in which the Supreme Court said an heiress - to rights in a 1963 screenplay - didn’t wait too long to sue MGM on infringement claims stemming from Raging Bull.

You can look up court cases about cheerleader uniforms on your own... (although the District Court's invocation of Plato in its 2014 Varsity Brands opinion is in my view a noteworthy piece of legal writing). And note: There are movie industry merchandising implications as to whether a designer or studio can claim a copyright interest in costumes that are also useful articles - like a helmet worn by a stormtrooper.

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