Bibliographies on Design Protection

From 1955 through 1976, the Copyright Office published three bibliographies on the issue of copyright protection for designs.  The first was prepared by Barbara Ringer, later the Register of Copyrights, in 1955.  A supplement was issued four years later.  These have been available online in the past, but the final such bibliogaphy, prepared by Kelsey Martin Mott, was published in 1976 but is not available anywhere online as far as I can tell.  I’ve included all three below.

At oral argument in Star Athletica, one frequent refrain was that design protection had been part of the proposed 1976 Act, but was removed from the bill at the 11th hour before passage.  These bibliographies were produced as part of that effort, to ensure that the Copyright Office and Congress stayed on top of current developments in design protection as the copyright bill wended its way forward over a 20+ year period.

Design protection was proposed again in the early 1990s but ran aground, supposedly due to conflict between carmakers and third-party auto parts manufacturers backed by the insurance industry.1  Time will tell if a new push comes after the decision in Star Athletica.

  1. There’s a nice summary of the history of design protection legislation in the statement then-Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters gave to Congress in 2006.

Author: Zvi S. Rosen

Lawyer and sometimes academic. I've written a fair deal about the evolution of intellectual property law into its present form, this blog is a way to share things that don't fit into a full-length article.

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