Beyond Source Code

Beyond Source Code

This resource digests case decisions addressing whether the non-literal elements of a computer program are protectable by copyright.

Protectable/Unprotectable – Case decisions organized by federal circuit and protectable status.

Compute – Cases decisions organized by relevant software element and protectable status.

Power

This resource digests case decisions addressing whether the non-literal elements of a computer program are protectable by copyright.

Protectable/Unprotectable – Case decisions organized by federal circuit and protectable status.

Compute – Cases decisions organized by relevant software element and protectable status.

Protectable
Unprotectable
Compute
Return

Protectable

1st Circuit
2nd Circuit
3rd Circuit
4th Circuit
5th Circuit
6th Circuit
7th Circuit
8th Circuit
9th Circuit
10th Circuit
11th Circuit
DC/Federal
Return

Unprotectable

1st Circuit
2nd Circuit
3rd Circuit
4th Circuit
5th Circuit
6th Circuit
7th Circuit
8th Circuit
9th Circuit
10th Circuit
11th Circuit
DC/Federal
Return

Compute

Element Legend

AGAlgorithm
CLSClassification
COMCommands
GRGame Rules
GUIGraphical User Interface
MMenu
MODModules
OUTProgram Output
PMParameters
RPReports
SCHSchema
SSOSequence Structure Organization
UIUser Interface
UMUser Manual
VDVisual Design
AG

Algorithm

Protectable

Marketing Technology Solutions, Inc. v. Medizine LLC, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50027 (S.D.N.Y. 2010)

Unprotectable

Torah Soft Ltd. v. Drosnin, 136 F. Supp. 2d 276 (S.D.N.Y. 2001)
Woods v. Resnick, 725 F. Supp. 2d 809 (W.D. Wis. 2010) - UN
CLS

Classification

Protectable

CMAX/Cleveland, Inc. v. UCR, Inc., 804 F. Supp. 337 (M.D. Ga. 1992)
Consul Tec, Inc. v. Interface Sys., Inc., 1991 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 20528, 1991 WL 427891 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 31, 1991)

Unprotectable

Antonick v. Elec. Arts Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7924 (N.D. Cal., January 22, 2014
COM

Commands

Protectable

Control Data Sys., Inc. v. Infoware, Inc., 903 F. Supp. 1316 (D. Minn. 1995)
Digital Communications Associates, Inc. v. Softklone Distributing Corp., 659 F.Supp. 449 (N.D. Ga. 1987)
Merch. Transaction Sys. v. Nelcela, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25663 *, 2009 WL 723001 (D. Ariz. Mar. 17, 2009)
SAS Inst. v. World Programming, Ltd., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165743 *, 2012 WL 5844910 (E.D.N.C. Oct. 18, 2012)
Syngy, Inc. v. ZS Associates, Inc., No. CIV.A. 07-3536, 2015 WL 899408 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 3, 2015)
Whelan Associates, Inc. v. Jaslow Dental Lab., Inc. et al., 797 F.2d 1222 (3d Cir. 1986) (Civ. A. No. 83–4583)

Unprotectable

Computer Associates Int'l, Inc. v. Altai, Inc., 982 F.2d 693 (2d Cir. 1992)
Jamison Bus. Sys. v. Unique Software Support Corp., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45480, 2005 WL 1262095 (E.D.N.Y. May 26, 2005)
Lotus Dev. Corp. v. Borland Int'l, Inc., 49 F.3d 807 (1st Cir. 1995), aff'd, 516 U.S. 233 (1996)
Mitek Holdings, Inc. v. Arce Eng'g Co., 864 F. Supp. 1568, 1581 (S.D. Fla. 1994), aff'd 89 F.3d 1548 (11th Cir. 1996) - UN
Mitel, Inc. v. Iqtel, Inc., 124 F.3d 1366, 1372 (10th Cir. 1997) (No. 95–1394)
Real View, LLC v. 20-20 Techs., Inc., 683 F. Supp. 2d 147 (D. Mass. 2010) (1:07-CV-12157) - UN
Torah Soft Ltd. v. Drosnin, 136 F. Supp. 2d 276 (S.D.N.Y. 2001)
GR

Game Rules

Protectable

Interactive Network, Inc. v. NTN Commc'ns, Inc., 875 F. Supp. 1398 (N.D. Cal.), dismissed, 57 F.3d 1083 (Fed. Cir. 1995)
Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc., 863 F. Supp. 2d 394 *, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74463, (D.N.J. 2012)

Unprotectable

Antonick v. Elec. Arts Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7924 (N.D. Cal., January 22, 2014
Capcom U.S.A., Inc. v. Data E. Corp., 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5306, 1994 WL 1751482 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 16, 1994) -UN
Data East USA, Inc. v. Epyx, Inc., 862 F.2d 204, 1988 U.S. App. LEXIS 16026, 9 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1322, Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P26,356 (9th Cir. Cal. 1988).
Interactive Network, Inc. v. NTN Commc'ns, Inc., 875 F. Supp. 1398 (N.D. Cal.), dismissed, 57 F.3d 1083 (Fed. Cir. 1995) - UN
GUI

Graphical User Interface

Protectable

Real View, LLC v. 20-20 Techs., Inc., 683 F. Supp. 2d 147 (D. Mass. 2010) (1:07-CV-12157)

Unprotectable

Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 35 F.3d 1435 (9th Cir. 1994)
Real View, LLC v. 20-20 Techs., Inc., 683 F. Supp. 2d 147 (D. Mass. 2010) (1:07-CV-12157) - UN
M

Menu

Protectable

Broderbund Software. Inc., v. Unison World, Inc., 648 F. Supp. 1127 (N.D. Cal. 1986)
Gates Rubber Co. v. Bando American, Inc., 9 F.3d 823 (10th Cir. 1993)
Maddog Software, Inc. v. Sklader, 382 F. Supp. 2d 268 (D.N.H. 2005) (No. CIV.04–CV–482–JD)
Woods v. Resnick, 725 F. Supp. 2d 809 (W.D. Wis. 2010)

Unprotectable

Brown Bag Software v. Symantec Corp., 960 F. 2d 1465 (9th Cir. 1992) (No. 89-16239)
Jamison Bus. Sys. v. Unique Software Support Corp., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45480, 2005 WL 1262095 (E.D.N.Y. May 26, 2005)
Lotus Dev. Corp. v. Borland Int'l, Inc., 49 F.3d 807 (1st Cir. 1995), aff'd, 516 U.S. 233 (1996)
Manufacturer's Technologies, Inc. v. CAMS, Inc., 706 F. Supp. 984 (D. Conn. 1989) - UN
Productivity Software Int'l, Inc. v. Healthcare Techs., Inc., No. 93 CIV 6949 (RPP), 1995 WL 437526 (S.D.N.Y. July 25, 1995)
Real View, LLC v. 20-20 Techs., Inc., 683 F. Supp. 2d 147 (D. Mass. 2010) (1:07-CV-12157) - UN
MOD

Modules

Protectable

Gates Rubber Co. v. Bando American, Inc., 9 F.3d 823 (10th Cir. 1993)
OUT

Program Output

Protectable

Design Data Corp. v. Unigate Enter., Inc., 847 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. 2017)
FedEx Ground Package Sys. v. Applications Int'l Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107896, 2008 WL 4279751 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 12, 2008)
Secureinfo Corp. v. Telos Corp., 387 F.Supp.2d 593 (E.D. Va. 2005)
Whelan Associates, Inc. v. Jaslow Dental Lab., Inc. et al., 797 F.2d 1222 (3d Cir. 1986) (Civ. A. No. 83–4583)

Unprotectable

Digital Communications Associates, Inc. v. Softklone Distributing Corp., 659 F.Supp. 449 (N.D. Ga. 1987) - UN
PM

Parameters

Protectable

Compaq Computer Corp. v. Procom Tech., Inc., 908 F. Supp. 1409 (S.D. Tex. 1995)
Control Data Sys., Inc. v. Infoware, Inc., 903 F. Supp. 1316 (D. Minn. 1995)
Digital Communications Associates, Inc. v. Softklone Distributing Corp., 659 F.Supp. 449 (N.D. Ga. 1987)
Lilith Games (Shanghai) Co. v. uCool, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128619 * (N.D. Cal. Sept. 23, 2015)

Unprotectable

Computer Associates Int'l, Inc. v. Altai, Inc., 982 F.2d 693 (2d Cir. 1992)
Ilog, Inc. v. Bell Logic, 181 F. Supp. 2d 3, (D. Mass. 2002)
Mitel, Inc. v. Iqtel, Inc., 124 F.3d 1366, 1372 (10th Cir. 1997) (No. 95–1394)
Wireless TV Studios, Inc. v. Digital Dispatch Sys., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47620 *, Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P29,593 (E.D.N.Y. June 19, 2008) - UN
RP

Reports

Protectable

CMAX/Cleveland, Inc. v. UCR, Inc., 804 F. Supp. 337 (M.D. Ga. 1992)
Harbor Software, Inc. v. Applied Sys., Inc., 925 F. Supp. 1042 (S.D.N.Y. 1996)
OP Solutions v. IP Network, 1999 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 979 (S.D.N.Y. Feb.2, 1999) (96 Civ. 7952)
Syngy, Inc. v. ZS Associates, Inc., No. CIV.A. 07-3536, 2015 WL 899408 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 3, 2015)

Unprotectable

Synercom Tech., Inc. v. Univ. Computing Co., 462 F. Supp. 1003 *, 1978 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15878, 199 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 537 (N.D. Tex. 1978) - UN
Woods v. Resnick, 725 F. Supp. 2d 809 (W.D. Wis. 2010) - UN
SCH

Schema

Protectable

DSMC, Inc. v. Convera Corp., 479 F. Supp. 2d 68 (D.D.C. 2007)
eScholar, LLC v. Otis Educ. Sys., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40727, (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 3, 2005)
Positive Software Solutions, Inc. v. New Century Mortg. Corp., 259 F. Supp. 2d 531 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 28, 2003)
SSO

Sequence Structure Organization

Protectable

Autoskill, Inc. v. National Educational Support Sys., 793 F. Supp. 1557 (D.N.M. 1992), aff'd, 994 F.2d 1476 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 114 S. Ct. 307 (1993) – overruled on other grounds
Broderbund Software. Inc., v. Unison World, Inc., 648 F. Supp. 1127 (N.D. Cal. 1986)
CMAX/Cleveland, Inc. v. UCR, Inc., 804 F. Supp. 337 (M.D. Ga. 1992)
Cognotec Services LTD v. Morgan Guaranty Trust Co., 862 F.Supp. 45 (S.D.N.Y. 1994)
Control Data Sys., Inc. v. Infoware, Inc., 903 F. Supp. 1316 (D. Minn. 1995)
Digital Communications Associates, Inc. v. Softklone Distributing Corp., 659 F.Supp. 449 (N.D. Ga. 1987)
eScholar, LLC v. Otis Educ. Sys., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40727, (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 3, 2005)
Gates Rubber Co. v. Bando American, Inc., 9 F.3d 823 (10th Cir. 1993)
Gen. Universal Sys., Inc. v. Lee, 379 F.3d 131, 142 (5th Cir. 2004)
Harbor Software, Inc. v. Applied Sys., Inc., 925 F. Supp. 1042 (S.D.N.Y. 1996)
Interactive Network, Inc. v. NTN Commc'ns, Inc., 875 F. Supp. 1398 (N.D. Cal.), dismissed, 57 F.3d 1083 (Fed. Cir. 1995)
Johnson Controls, Inc. v. Phoenix Control Systems, Inc., 886 F. 2d 1173, 1175 (9th Cir. 1989)
Lilith Games (Shanghai) Co. v. uCool, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128619 * (N.D. Cal. Sept. 23, 2015)
Manufacturer's Technologies, Inc. v. CAMS, Inc., 706 F. Supp. 984 (D. Conn. 1989)
Merch. Transaction Sys. v. Nelcela, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25663 *, 2009 WL 723001 (D. Ariz. Mar. 17, 2009)
Mitek Holdings, Inc. v. Arce Eng'g Co., 864 F. Supp. 1568, 1581 (S.D. Fla. 1994), aff'd 89 F.3d 1548 (11th Cir. 1996)
Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., 750 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. May 9, 2014)
SAS Inst. v. World Programming, Ltd., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165743 *, 2012 WL 5844910 (E.D.N.C. Oct. 18, 2012)
Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc., 863 F. Supp. 2d 394 *, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74463, (D.N.J. 2012)
Versata Software, Inc. v. Infosys Techs. Ltd., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186540 * (W.D. Tex. Sept. 6, 2013)
Whelan Associates, Inc. v. Jaslow Dental Lab., Inc. et al., 797 F.2d 1222 (3d Cir. 1986) (Civ. A. No. 83–4583)

Unprotectable

Baystate Techs., Inc. v. Bentley Sys., Inc., 946 F. Supp. 1079 (D. Mass. 1996) (No. 96-40196-NMG)
Capcom U.S.A., Inc. v. Data E. Corp., 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5306, 1994 WL 1751482 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 16, 1994) -UN
Data East USA, Inc. v. Epyx, Inc., 862 F.2d 204, 1988 U.S. App. LEXIS 16026, 9 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1322, Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P26,356 (9th Cir. Cal. 1988).
Harbor Software, Inc. v. Applied Sys., Inc., 925 F. Supp. 1042 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) - UN
Interactive Network, Inc. v. NTN Commc'ns, Inc., 875 F. Supp. 1398 (N.D. Cal.), dismissed, 57 F.3d 1083 (Fed. Cir. 1995) - UN
Manufacturer's Technologies, Inc. v. CAMS, Inc., 706 F. Supp. 984 (D. Conn. 1989) - UN
Merch. Transaction Sys. v. Nelcela, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25663 *, 2009 WL 723001 (D. Ariz. Mar. 17, 2009) - UN
Mitek Holdings, Inc. v. Arce Eng'g Co., 864 F. Supp. 1568, 1581 (S.D. Fla. 1994), aff'd 89 F.3d 1548 (11th Cir. 1996) - UN
Plains Cotton Co-op v. Goodpasture Computer Service, Inc., 807 F. 2d 1256 (5th Cir. 1987)
Real View, LLC v. 20-20 Techs., Inc., 683 F. Supp. 2d 147 (D. Mass. 2010) (1:07-CV-12157) - UN
Synercom Tech., Inc. v. Univ. Computing Co., 462 F. Supp. 1003 *, 1978 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15878, 199 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 537 (N.D. Tex. 1978) - UN
Updatecom, Inc. v. Firstbank P.R., Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12579 *, Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P30,559, 2014 WL 346436 (D.P.R. Jan. 30, 2014)
UI

User Interface

Protectable

Eng'g Dynamics, Inc. v. Structural Software, Inc., 26 F.3d 1335 (5th Cir. 1994)
Gen. Universal Sys., Inc. v. Lee, 379 F.3d 131, 142 (5th Cir. 2004)
Lilith Games (Shanghai) Co. v. uCool, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128619 * (N.D. Cal. Sept. 23, 2015)
MDY Indus., LLC v. Blizzard Entm't, Inc., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 3428 * (9th Cir. Ariz. Feb. 17, 2011)
Napoli v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 874 F. Supp. 206 (N.D. Ill. 1995); vacated by agreement 926 F. Supp. 780, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10261 (N.D. Ill. 1996)
OP Solutions v. IP Network, 1999 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 979 (S.D.N.Y. Feb.2, 1999) (96 Civ. 7952)
Real View, LLC v. 20-20 Techs., Inc., 683 F. Supp. 2d 147 (D. Mass. 2010) (1:07-CV-12157)
Wireless TV Studios, Inc. v. Digital Dispatch Sys., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47620 *, Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P29,593 (E.D.N.Y. June 19, 2008)

Unprotectable

Real View, LLC v. 20-20 Techs., Inc., 683 F. Supp. 2d 147 (D. Mass. 2010) (1:07-CV-12157) - UN
Torah Soft Ltd. v. Drosnin, 136 F. Supp. 2d 276 (S.D.N.Y. 2001)
Wireless TV Studios, Inc. v. Digital Dispatch Sys., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47620 *, Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P29,593 (E.D.N.Y. June 19, 2008) - UN
UM

User Manual

Protectable

Eng'g Dynamics, Inc. v. Structural Software, Inc., 26 F.3d 1335 (5th Cir. 1994)
SAS Inst. v. World Programming, Ltd., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165743 *, 2012 WL 5844910 (E.D.N.C. Oct. 18, 2012)
Secureinfo Corp. v. Telos Corp., 387 F.Supp.2d 593 (E.D. Va. 2005)
Synercom Tech., Inc. v. Univ. Computing Co., 462 F. Supp. 1003 *, 1978 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15878, 199 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 537 (N.D. Tex. 1978)
VD

Visual Design

Protectable

Capcom U.S.A., Inc. v. Data E. Corp., 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5306, 1994 WL 1751482 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 16, 1994)
Clarity Software, LLC v. Allianz Life Ins. Co. , 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56217 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 11, 2006)
CMAX/Cleveland, Inc. v. UCR, Inc., 804 F. Supp. 337 (M.D. Ga. 1992)
Harbor Software, Inc. v. Applied Sys., Inc., 925 F. Supp. 1042 (S.D.N.Y. 1996)
Lilith Games (Shanghai) Co. v. uCool, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128619 * (N.D. Cal. Sept. 23, 2015)
Maddog Software, Inc. v. Sklader, 382 F. Supp. 2d 268 (D.N.H. 2005) (No. CIV.04–CV–482–JD)
MDY Indus., LLC v. Blizzard Entm't, Inc., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 3428 * (9th Cir. Ariz. Feb. 17, 2011)
Mitek Holdings, Inc. v. Arce Eng'g Co., 864 F. Supp. 1568, 1581 (S.D. Fla. 1994), aff'd 89 F.3d 1548 (11th Cir. 1996)

Unprotectable

Brown Bag Software v. Symantec Corp., 960 F. 2d 1465 (9th Cir. 1992) (No. 89-16239)
Capcom U.S.A., Inc. v. Data E. Corp., 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5306, 1994 WL 1751482 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 16, 1994) -UN
Data East USA, Inc. v. Epyx, Inc., 862 F.2d 204, 1988 U.S. App. LEXIS 16026, 9 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1322, Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P26,356 (9th Cir. Cal. 1988).
Harbor Software, Inc. v. Applied Sys., Inc., 925 F. Supp. 1042 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) - UN
Ilog, Inc. v. Bell Logic, 181 F. Supp. 2d 3, (D. Mass. 2002)
Mitek Holdings, Inc. v. Arce Eng'g Co., 864 F. Supp. 1568, 1581 (S.D. Fla. 1994), aff'd 89 F.3d 1548 (11th Cir. 1996) - UN
LGND

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This digest is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice. You should contact an experienced copyright attorney for specific guidance, such as the Copyright, Content, and Platform practitioners at BakerHostetler.