4 Takeaways From 6th Circ.'s Cheerleader Copyright Ruling

By Bill Donahue (August 20, 2015, 9:42 PM EDT) -- The Sixth Circuit waded into the murky world of fashion law this week, declaring that decorative designs on cheerleading uniforms could be eligible for copyright protection. 

The appeals court was considering whether the colorful stripes, chevrons and other visual elements that appear on the front of cheerleading outfits sold by Varsity Brands Inc. — the world's largest producer of cheerleader gear — were eligible for copyright protection.

The ruling was closely watched for a simple reason: American intellectual property law is notoriously ill-equipped to protect fashion designs. Copyright, trademark and patent law are routinely stretched in an effort to cover apparel,...

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