Loveland company wins copyright ruling

LOVELAND — The Anatomy in Clay Learning System, a product of Zahourek Systems Inc., a company registered in New Jersey but with principal address and manufacturing plant in Loveland, has won its appeal to protect its copyright of its Maniken model. The company produces a skeleton model that can be used to fashion and model organs, muscle and tissue for use in educational settings. The decision, from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit based in Denver, helps to protect the company’s products from competitors who might use the skeletons in a similar way but without the other materials that are part of the learning system. “This is a powerful decision after a long-fought battle to protect our intellectual property,” said Jon Zahourek, founder of the Anatomy in Clay Learning System. “We are extremely thankful for the 10th Circuit decision and critical insights, which concur with our core belief that our model deserves copyright protection.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit concluded that “an item is not a ‘useful article’ if its usefulness derives solely from its appearance.” The 10th Circuit ruling concluded that it was reasonable to “determine that the Maniken was not a useful article” and thus it is a work that can be protected by copyright. Useful items, as defined by copyright law, are common and cannot be copyrighted. “The 10th Circuit found that there is reason to view Jon Zahourek’s sculpture as more than a useful article. Jon Zahourek’s sculpture is unique and beautiful and worth fighting for,” said Nicole Ressue, one of the attorneys who litigated the case for Santangelo Law Offices in Fort Collins. “We protect creative businesses and creative people. This is for artists everywhere. And it supports Mr. Zahourek as an artist and his efforts to protect his Maniken model.” Ressue told BizWest that the practical implication of the decision is that Anatomy in Clay is able to use the copyright to protect its system of teaching anatomy using the Maniken model. “Others can’t use their statues without their permission,” she said. The ruling gives the company a competitive advantage in using the Maniken to teach anatomy. As a sculptor who made a living off his fine art sales for a quarter century, Zahourek has cast his Maniken sculptures in bronze (including a companion horse version, known as Equiken). He has exhibited these models along with his paintings and other sculptures in a one-man show in New York City in addition to a group show in Oklahoma City. The Anatomy in Clay Learning System is used in thousands of classrooms — from elementary to graduate levels — around the country and world as a hands-on approach to learning human anatomy. Students fashion components of human anatomy such as muscles, nerves, the lymphatic system using special clay that is applied to scale models of the Maniken sculpture. Educational materials such as workbooks are also included in the system. Balanced Body University, a training program for Pilates instructors from […]
Source: BizWest

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