The Supreme Court's activities are closely monitored during each session. However, amidst many high-profile cases, some may not have noticed its 2019 ruling on a copyright infringement case. Trying to clean up contradictory rulings at the Circuit Court level, the high court unanimously ruled that copyright infringement claims are valid only when that copyright is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
This is a change
Courts before this ruling were more open to protecting the copyright even if it was not registered. For instance, the Fifth and Ninth Circuit (California is in the latter's jurisdiction) ruled that protection began as early as filing the application and paying the fees. The Tenth and Eleventh Circuit Courts said that protection started when the Certificate of Registration was issued, which is about seven weeks after the filing when the application was approved. In some cases, claimants were able to successfully file a suit even when the Copyright Office did not approve the application.
The potential impact
People with ideas do not always think it is worth the time and expense to file a copyright. Others thought the seven-week wait for protection is an eternity in the tech world. Regardless of misgiving, however, it is now more essential than ever that businesses, entrepreneurs, creative types, and others register their idea, design, code, or product.
IP attorneys can help
A knowledgeable intellectual property attorney working here in California can be a tremendous help to the industries here or wish to come into the market. Whether filing an application or defending against an infringement, these attorneys are invaluable in helping clients navigate IP's complicated processes and laws.