Boisson v. Banian, Ltd.
273 F.3d 262 (2d Cir. 2001)

  • Boisson was a quilt-maker who created two quilts that incorporated the alphabet. Banian made three very similar-looking quilts. Boisson sued for copyright infringement.
    • Banian admitted that they had used Boisson's quilts as a basis for their own. However, they argued that their quilts were dissimilar enough that it wasn't an infringement.
  • The Trial Court found for Banian. Boisson appealed.
    • The Trial Court found that Banian's quilts were not substantially similar to Boisson's.
    • The Court found that the elements that were
  • The Appellate Court reversed.
    • The Appellate Court found that many elements of the quilt design like the alphabet are not copyrightable. However, elements such as the layout and color combinations are.
    • The Court defined substantially similar to be if "the ordinary observer, unless she set out to detect the disparities, would be disposed to overlook them, and regard the aesthetic appeal as the same."
      • The Court found that the courts needed to consider the "total concept and feel" of the two works.
    • The Court looked at the various features of the various quilts, and found that in some cases there was a substantial similarity between the copyrightable elements of Boisson's quilt and Banian's quilt.
      • The Court found that some of Banian's quilts infringed, and others' did not.