From our private database of 33,600+ case briefs...
Esquire, Inc. v. Ringer
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
591 F.2d 796 (1978)
Esquire, Inc. (plaintiff) applied for a copyright for its modern design of a light fixture, asserting that the light design was a copyrightable work of art pursuant to the Copyright Act of 1909. The Register of Copyrights (the register) (defendant) denied the application, determining that—pursuant to regulation 37 C.F.R. § 202.10(c)—the light fixture was a utilitarian article and that its design could not be separated from its useful functions and thus was not copyrightable. Esquire filed suit in district court seeking a writ of mandamus to have its copyright registered, arguing that § 202.10(c) allowed copyright registration for the overall shape or design of a utilitarian article as long as the article was a work of art, i.e., that it was sufficiently original and creative. The register argued that § 202.10(c) precluded registration of a copyright for the overall shape or design of a utilitarian article regardless of its artistic qualities because the designs of most consumer products include aesthetic considerations. The district court granted the writ, holding that to do otherwise would go against Supreme Court precedent and afford modern art less protection than traditional art. The register appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bazelon, J.)
Concurrence (Leventhal, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 602,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 602,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 33,600 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.