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is an attorney with Locke Lord LLP. He is a member of the Firm’s intellectual property law group, and has considerable experience in patent litigation, ITC proceedings, and patent prosecution. Joseph has been involved in numerous aspects of the patent trial, including initial settlement discussions, fact and expert discovery, summary judgment, post-hearing briefing, and appeals. He has prepared initial pleadings, discovery motions, Markman briefs and presentations, trial and post-trial motions, and appeals and briefs for rehearing en banc to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He also has experience in cases involving local patent rules and procedures and is acquainted with ITC practices. For more information, or to contact Joseph, please visit his firm profile page.
This case concerns Star Athletica’s alleged infringement of Varsity Brands’ purported copyrights in the design of certain cheerleading uniforms. Under the Copyright Act, because clothing possesses an intrinsic utilitarian function (covering the body, providing warmth and protection from the elements, etc.), clothing designs historically have not been protected by copyright unless the claimed design is physically or conceptually separable from the garment’s utilitarian features. The district court found in favor of defendant Star Athletica, concluding that the design elements in Varsity Brands’ cheerleading uniforms were not separable from the uniform’s function. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed, and in doing so, devised a new test for assessing the copyrightability of a design of a useful article.