Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: March 22, 2017
  • Case #: 15-866
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and ALITO, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. GINSBURG, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which KENNEDY, J., joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

The designs on cheerleading uniforms are separable and protectable under copyright law.

Petitioner and Respondent both manufacture and design athletic wear, specifically cheerleading uniforms. Respondent sued Petitioner for violating its copyrights. The district court granted Petitioner’s motion for summary judgment holding that the designs on the uniforms were not protected under copyright law. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed, finding that the designs were separable from the uniforms. The Supreme Court agreed that Respondent's designs were separable. The Court determined that the Copyright Act of 1976 applies to both two and three dimensional articles of work. The Court then applied the two pronged Mazer test, holding that the design of the uniforms can be separated because the art affixed on the uniform surfaces were (1) "graphic" features and (2) could be reproduced and placed on another physical surface. AFFIRMED.

Advanced Search