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Design That Lacks Originality Isn't Copyright Protected

Saturday, October 01, 2011 08:56 am



Nova Design Build, Inc. v. Grace Hotels, LLC, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 15371; 99 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1469 (7th Cir. July 26, 2011)

Because there was no creative element in a generic hotel design, the work couldn't be copyrighted.

The design-build contract between project owner Grace Hotels LLC (Grace) and Nova Design Build, Inc. (Nova) gave Grace the right to use Nova's architectural designs for bidding, permit, and construction purposes. The contract stipulated that the designs would remain Nova's intellectual property. After Nova created the design for a Holiday Inn Express in Waukegan, Illinois, the relationship between the parties became strained. Rather than use Nova's construction affiliate to erect the hotel, Grace elected to contract with another construction company (which the contract allowed Grace to do as long as it paid Nova an additional fee apart from the design fees). In the meantime, Nova registered a [...]

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