Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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924.6 (A) One Application Per Article


924.6 Application Tips for Registering the Design of a Useful Article 924.6 (A) One Application Per Article


For purposes of registration, the separable features of a useful article are considered one design, and the overall design is considered one pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work. 17 U.S.C. § 101 (“the design [singular] of a useful article . . . shall be considered a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work [singular]”); Star Athletica, 137 S. Ct. at 1009 (explaining that the “design” [singular] of a useful article refers “to the combination of details or features [plural] that . . . make up the useful article”).


As a general rule, an applicant may register all of the separable features of a useful article with one application, deposit, and filing fee. If the exact same features have been incorporated into several useful articles – ” such as a bed, an armoire, and a nightstand – ” the applicant should select one of those items and submit identifying material showing the features as they appear on that item.


By contrast, when different sets of features have been incorporated into multiple useful articles, the applicant must submit a separate application, deposit, and filing fee for each article, even if those items are sold together or as part of the same set.


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