Copyright Aid Forum Index
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in   Main siteC A Main Site 

Using inventions in a story

 
   Copyright Aid Forum Index -> Copyright Infringement

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Copyright Aid Forum Index -> Copyright Infringement
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
johann
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:35 pm    Post subject: Using inventions in a story Reply with quote

I was wondering if I can use patented/copyrighted inventions (or even those that aren't) in a story that I'd like to right. It wouldn't be as if I'm claiming to have invented them, or that I'm even making them for real, but I just thought I'd ask to be sure...

Thanks in advance!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle


Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 1630

PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Johann,
That's an interesting question. Let's look at its two parts: copyright and patents.
An invention on its own cannot be protected by copyright. However, if an author included considerable detail about some novel machine or process in a literary work, it may well be protected by copyright to the extent that it formed a substantial part of the work concerned. But that would not prevent someone actually constructing a machine etc which did what the author had described. To take a real example, in The Disintegration Machine, the author Arthur Conan Doyle described a machine capable of 'dis-integrating' objects or people and then re-assembling them. Since the machine is central to the story it would probably be an infringement of copyright (if the published works of Conan Doyle were still in copyright, which they aren't) for someone else to write a story which also featured the disintegration machine that Conan Doyle described, but there would be no objection to someone inventing or building such a thing in real life. In fact of course the transporter in the Star Trek TV series and films, is very similar to Conan Doyle's machine.
So from the point of view of you writing a story which featured someone else's fictional creation, you would need to be careful not to re-use too much detail from the original story, unless the idea itself was widely used amongst other writers in the same genre. The more central the invention is to the essence of the story, the greater the risk that copying it would amount to infringement. That said, the UK courts tend to take a broader view of what constitutes a substantial part when considering individual plot or character details, compared to the US courts which recently held that the Batmobile from the US TV series was a protected 'character'.
As for an invention protected by patent, you should be fairly free to incorporate it in a work of fiction because the Patent Act only prevents the making or importation of an actual product subject to patent, or if it a process, use of the process, without authority.

I hope this answers your question.
_________________
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007


Last edited by AndyJ on Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:18 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
johann
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow...yes...that's a pretty perfect answer, actually...and so swiftly given, too! Thanks...(I just have some furniture which is basically exactly the same as some Ikea designs...)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle


Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 1630

PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the additional information. Designs for practical things like furniture generally would not be patentable unless they incorporated some novel mechanism or did something new (the Corby trouser press comes to mind). The main protection for mass produced items comes from Design right, and just as with patents, you would not be infringing design right by including the articles in a work of fiction. Also, if you intend to use the trade name Ikea, that would not ordinarily infringe the Trade Mark of the company because you are not selling goods similar to Ikea, thus what you would be doing is not in the course of trade as is meant by the Trade Marks Act.
Some very stylish furniture designs, such as the Eames lounge chair shown here,
can be protected by copyright if they embody a high degree of aesthetic appeal not necessary for their basic function, such that they could be described as works of artistic craftsmanship, but once again, just describing their use in a work of fiction wouldn't infringe copyright.
_________________
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007


Last edited by AndyJ on Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
johann
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot again...it certainly puts my mind at rest...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Copyright Aid Forum Index -> Copyright Infringement All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1
 

You must be logged in to post  Log inLog in
Want to join in? New members are always welcome  RegisterRegister & join the discussion

 

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group