bigstock-Copyright-Word-Cloud-39228895That is the claim made by the city of Portland, designer of the aesthetically pleasing 24/7 flushable Portland Loo toilet. Portland Loo can be found throughout the streets of Portland. The city of Portland was hoping to sell the Portland Loos to other cities, but the prospects for sale got tight when Romtec, Inc. introduced the Sidewalk Restroom. The Sidewalk Restroom shares a similar design and it is being offered for almost a third of the cost.

This did not sit well with the city of the Portland. They are fighting back. The city of Portland has filed a law suit for copyright infringement against Romtec, Inc. Copyright infringe? Yes, copyright infringement. The city of the Portland claims that the design of the Portland Loo toilet was copyrighted. It was the city of Portland’s original pieces of the art. And, Romtec, Inc. committed copyright infringement in designing the Sidewalk Restroom.

How the case will turn is unclear, but it is a great example of the breadth and scope of what constitutes an original piece of art under copyright laws. Under copyright laws an original piece of art is protected upon the mere fact of its creation. You create something in tangible form, it is original, and it may very well have copyright protection.

Listen to the video to learn more about what is copyright is:

What does copyright protection afford you? Copyright laws prevent others from copying your original pieces of art and taking them as their own. Now, copyright law does not prevent others from taking inspiration from your work and creating their own original pieces of art. But, where inspiration stops, and copying starts is unclear.

When posting to the blog, we try to select cases and current topics that have meaning and offer insight. This case, by its sheer uniqueness of subject matter, is sure to remain in one’s recall when thinking of intellectual property protections.

Take a look around. What copyright materials does your business have? What are you doing and what can you do protect your intellectual property? Here are 3 steps that you can take to protect your intellectual property.

1. Put the copyright or trademark symbol on copyright and trademark items.


2. Register your copyrights and trademarks with the USPTO.


3. When entering into vendor, supplier, or employee relationships that involve the creation or use of the copyright or trademark materials make sure to get an agreement that acknowledges your ownership of and rules for using the copyright or trademark materials.


Unsure which symbol [℠, ™, ®, ©] to use? Send us a message below and request our quick reference sheet.


Port-a-potty Designs are Original Pieces of Art?

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