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Copyrightability of Ideas and Concept Notes

Copyright law safeguards original expressions of ideas and concepts, but it does not confer protection on ideas or concepts themselves. This article examines a recent legal case involving the rectification of a copyright registration for an advertisement under the Copyright Act, 1957. The petitioner contested the registration, asserting that the copyrighted material lacked originality and amounted to a generic idea. This article conducts a detailed analysis of the legal principles at play and their implications for the copyright protection of ideas and concept notes.

Copyright law aims to encourage creativity by granting creators exclusive rights over their original works. However, copyright protection does not extend to abstract ideas or concepts. This fundamental principle is central to a recent case where the petitioner sought rectification of a copyright registration for an advertisement titled "Coming Soon."

The petitioner argued that the advertisement failed to meet the requisite threshold of originality for copyright protection. They posited that it merely conveyed a commonplace idea often used in product promotions, thus falling short of the criteria for an original literary work under Section 13(1)(a) of the Copyright Act, 1957.

The court's recognition of the need for a "basic filtration process" during the examination of copyright applications underscores the significance of assessing originality upfront. This underscores the importance of having updated guidelines and informed decisions to prevent the registration of non-original works.

Moreover, the article explores the concept of originality in copyright law and the prerequisite that a work must display a degree of creativity to warrant protection. The advertisement in question, simply titled "Advertisement," lacked specificity and narrative depth, resembling more of a generic idea or concept note than an original literary work. Consequently, the court rectified the registration.

The case exemplifies that copyright protection does not extend to ideas or concept notes. It underscores the importance of upholding the integrity of copyright law by ensuring that only genuinely original works receive copyright registration. The decision to rectify the copyright registration underscores the principle that copyright protection should be reserved for works that genuinely embody creativity and originality, rather than generic ideas or concepts.

Case Title: HMD Mobile India Private Limited Vs Mr. Rajan Aggarwal and another
Order Date: 14.05.2024
Case No. Co Comm IPD CR 1 of 2024
Neutral Citation:N.A.
Name of Court: Delhi High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Anish Dayal, H.J.

Ideas, thoughts, views, information, discussions and interpretation expressed herein are being shared in the public Interest. Readers' discretion is advised as these are subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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