“Six” cheers for copyright protection for cheerleader uniforms. In a 6-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. VarsityBrands, Inc. proclaimed Varsity Brands’ cheerleader uniforms are entitled to copyright protection. Varsity Brand’s victory over Star Athletica re-confirms copyright protection as a viable option for protecting the design of useful articles of manufacture. Time will tell if U.S. copyrights will upset U.S. design patents as the champion of protection of designs of useful articles.
(1) can be perceived as a two- or three-dimensional work of art separate from the useful article and
(2) the design would qualify as a protectable pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work—either on its own or fixed in some other tangible medium of expression— if it were imagined separately from the useful article into which it is incorporated.