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Copyrighting the banana

Product innovation comes in many forms, including the banana!  According to this Reuters article, that includes banana Halloween costumes.  The article talks about a lawsuit brought by a banana costume designer against Kmart for copyright infringement.  The article goes on to say that US shoppers spend a staggering $3.4B on Halloween costumes each year.

Intellectual property protection is something all innovators must consider when developing new products.  That can be especially important when a novel idea is easy to copy.  Patents and copyrights provide producers a period of legal exclusivity for their idea or design but it can be tricky when trying to determine if someone has infringed on someone else’s rights.  Historically it was difficult to copyright clothing design but in March, 2017 the US Supreme Court issued a ruling that allowed cheerleading uniforms to be copyrighted.  This has opened the door for significant litigation in the fashion industry but it also provides the opportunity for clothing designers to protect their designs (and ensure their designs don’t infringe on competitive designs!)

With Halloween approaching, this can be a fun way to introduce the scope of intellectual property protection to students and get them to think about their Halloween costumes in a whole new way.

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