Protected elements of illustrated children’s book were not substantially similar to defendants’ book and animated adaptation as a matter of law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has affirmed a district court’s decision holding that an author of a children’s illustrated book failed to state a copyright infringement claim against media company Viacom International, Inc., and publisher Penguin Random House LLC for copying the author’s story in a book and animated adaptation that allegedly “mirrored” the author’s plot about a young Christmas tree that dreamed of becoming the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City. Substantial similarities between protectable elements of the works were lacking as a matter of law. The basic plot idea shared by the parties’ works was correctly deemed by the lower court to too generic to be protectable, as well as elements that naturally flowed from that idea, the appellate court said (Nicassio v. Viacom International, Inc., July 2, 2019, Cowen, R.).

Case date: 02 July 2019
Case number: No. 18-2085
Court: United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.


To make sure you do not miss out on regular updates from the Kluwer Copyright Blog, please subscribe here.

Kluwer IP Law

The 2022 Future Ready Lawyer survey showed that 79% of lawyers think that the importance of legal technology will increase for next year. With Kluwer IP Law you can navigate the increasingly global practice of IP law with specialized, local and cross-border information and tools from every preferred location. Are you, as an IP professional, ready for the future?

Learn how Kluwer IP Law can support you.

Kluwer IP Law
This page as PDF

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *