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OddzOn Products, Inc. v. Oman

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
924 F.2d 346 (1991)


OddzOn Products, Inc. (plaintiff) filed a claim for the copyright to the KOOSH ball. The KOOSH ball is a patented and trademarked product that consists of many floppy strands that emanate from a core and are arranged to form a sphere. It was originally developed to teach children to play catch. OddzOn sought a copyright to prevent competition from knockoff manufacturers. The Copyright Office (defendant) denied a copyright. The Office wrote that the visual character of the KOOSH ball could not be copyrighted because it was simply a sphere, and wrote that the “tactility” (feel) of the KOOSH ball could not be copyrighted because it was a functional part of the ball. OddzOn appealed to the district court. The district court interpreted the Office’s finding that the KOOSH ball’s visual character could not be copyrighted to mean that there was not sufficient creative work in the ball to merit a copyright, and upheld the finding on that basis. The district court agreed that, because the ball’s feel was a utilitarian aspect, it could not be copyrighted either. OddzOn appealed to the circuit court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

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