Industrial Design: Reinterpreting the Useful Article Doctrine

The separability test’s current binary approach dooms opposing parties to talk past one another, each at a different level of abstraction, with courts only clumsily able to direct the proceedings. Courts could more productively channel discourse if they considered separability across a spectrum. By applying a spectrum, courts would be able to determine the sorts of designs that are truly worthy of copyright protection with greater precision and sophistication.