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Superior Form Builders, Inc. v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Co., Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
74 F.3d 488 (1996), cert denied, 519 US 809
Superior Form Builders, Inc. (plaintiff) created and sold animal mannequins to be used by taxidermists for mounting animal skins. Using traditional sculpting techniques, Superior Form created the mannequins from scratch using casts of actual animal carcasses as models, thereafter shaping the desired animal in a particular pose and with precise anatomical features. Superior Form registered each of its mannequins with the United States Copyright Office. Following the release of Superior Form’s first catalogue, Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Co., Inc. (defendant) purchased four mannequins. Chase used these four Superior Form mannequins to create its own forms, with little or no modifications, and thereafter registered the mannequins as its own with the copyright office and offered them for sale in its catalogue. Superior Form filed suit against Chase for infringement. Chase argued that Superior Form’s mannequins were not copyrightable because the mannequins were useful articles that did not possess separable and independent sculptural features. The district court found otherwise and entered judgment in favor of Superior Form. Chase appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Niemeyer, J.)
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