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P&D was granted a copyright on the technical drawings of light boxes as "advertising display units". SMI, however, manufactured similar or identical to the light box illustrated in the technical drawings copyrighted by P&D for leasing out to different advertisers. Was this an infringement of P&D’s copyright over the technical drawings?

 

No, P&D’s copyright protection extended only to the technical drawings and not to the light box itself. The light box was not a literary or artistic piece which could be copyrighted under the copyright law. If SMI reprinted P&D’s technical drawings for sale to the public without license from P&D, then no doubt they would have been guilty of copyright infringement. Only the expression of an idea is protected by copyright, not the idea itself. If what P&D sought was exclusivity over the light boxes, it should have instead procured a patent over the light boxes itself. (Pearl and Dean Inc. v. Shoe Mart Inc., GR No. 148222, Aug. 15, 2003)


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