Monday, July 15, 2013

Copyright Law - Eleventh Circuit: What's the Skinny on Thin Architectural Works?

Floor Plans, Architectural Works, Substantial Similarity, Motion for Summary Judgment

Miller’s Ale House, Inc. v. Boynton Carolina Ale House LLC, 2012 WL 6629202 (11th Circuit December 20, 2012). Restaurant operator sued competitor over trademark, trade dress and copyrighted floor plans. District court granted summary judgment to Defendant over copyrighted floor plans. 11th Circuit noted that copyrights in architectural works are “thin” and that standard elements in floor plans are often similarly situated so that differences in architectural works are more relevant than in other copyrighted works. Here the 11th Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding that the differences were “dramatic and overwhelming”.
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