No, You Can't Copyright A Hookah
from the lessons-in-copyright dept
Thanks to the nature of “ownership society” and the way copyright maximalists have convinced so many people that every concept and idea should be “property” that is “owned” by someone, you get all sorts of bizarre copyright lawsuits thrown about. Here’s just one recent example. Two California Hookah makers got into a legal dispute after one accused the other of copyright infringement, for copying the shape of a hookah water container, as seen in the following image:
The shape of a container is not independent of a container’s utilitarian function–to hold the contents within its shape–because the shape accomplishes the function. The district court correctly concluded that the shape of Inhale’s hookah water container is not copyrightable.
Not only did the two courts both toss the lawsuit, but they’ve awarded attorneys’ fees to the defendant, Starbuzz, for facing such a frivolous suit.
Of course, almost anyone who’s studied the basics of copyright would have known exactly how all of this would work out, leaving you with the simple question of wondering just what Inhale Inc.’s lawyers were smoking when they let the company move forward with the case.