Sixth Circuit Reversal in Varsity Brands v. Star Athletica

August 21, 2015New York State Bar Association EASL Blog

In a posting on the New York State Bar Association's EASL Blog, Barry Werbin discusses the Sixth Circuit's reversal of WD Tenn.'s widely criticized decision in Varsity Brands v. Star Athletica that had held that stripes, chevrons, zigzags and color blocking imprinted on cheerleader uniforms were not copyrightable because these design elements could not be disaggregated from the cheerleader dress design, which were otherwise utilitarian. In its reversal, the Sixth Circuit concluded that "the arrangement of stripes, chevrons, color blocks, and zigzags are 'wholly unnecessary to the performance of' the garment's ability to cover the body, permit free movement, and wick moisture" and are therefore copyrightable subject matter. For full access to the article, please follow the link.