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Can a specific idea for art be protected or patented?

Example: I draw a funny cartoon of an employee falling asleep at a staff meeting. Then I add a phrase making the art even funnier (at least for me).

Being a poster collector, I have not seen this poster anywhere else here. So I decide to print a poster of my art with the added phrase and sell it to a walmart.

The poster sells a lot, so someone else copies my idea (employee falling asleep at a staff meeting) by creating a different cartoon and adding a different funny phrase.

Can something like this be avoided?

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    This is related to Copy Right and out of place here. Having said that Copy Right protection came into effect as soon as you made the drawing. But this right can be exercised provided anybody uses exact drawing and its caption. Fact that some one has written a poem about 'sea' does not prevent others writing poems about 'sea'. Similarly, none can be prevented 'depicting employee falling asleep at a staff meeting' in his/her work of art (drawing/cartoon). – AD Adhikary Dec 14 '18 at 17:16
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    As AD Adhikary states, art is protected by copyright, not patent. While copyright is automatic, you can get extra benefits by registering. Check out these links: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_registration, copyright.gov/registration – Eric Shain Dec 14 '18 at 20:57
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In a twist .. if you used a technology to arrive at that funny twist, if that technology is not 'prior art' , if , in time, you got that technology patented, then you can avoid something like the above situation. Hint , perhaps " System and Method to arrive at cartoons above a pre-determined humor quotient ':-)

  • I know you are trying to be funny, but even if you do figure out a novel invention for generating the cartoon or poster, the cartoon/poster itself wouldn't be covered by the patent, rather the method of manufacture. If someone else used conventional printing techniques to reproduce it they presumably would avoid infringement. I'm all for humor, but in general it is best to avoid answering off topic questions. – Eric Shain Dec 15 '18 at 15:07
  • Yes sure it was meant as humor. But agreed that it can be misunderstood. So to clarify, yes, the question is a subject matter of copyright, not patents. – Learner Dec 16 '18 at 16:31
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Can a specific idea for art be protected or patented? Art cannot be patented it can only be protected by copy right

Example: I draw a funny cartoon of an employee falling asleep at a staff meeting. Then I add a phrase making the art even funnier (at least for me).

the art and phrase can be protected under copyright. try to protect the equivalents of the terms in phrase.

Being a poster collector, I have not seen this poster anywhere else here. So I decide to print a poster of my art with the added phrase and sell it to a walmart. The poster sells a lot, so someone else copies my idea (employee falling asleep at a staff meeting) by creating a different cartoon and adding a different funny phrase.

Can something like this be avoided?

copyright prevents infringers from making abstract or derivatives of your work but creating it from scratch is not considered as an infringment.

  • Although you answer is correct, copyright questions are off topic for this site (as was explained in the question's comments). – Eric Shain Dec 18 '18 at 15:13
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I think the question is too general. For example, US5138783A is a patent on an idea of making art.

Design patents, by definition cover ornamental designs.

A cartoon would probably fall under the “printed matter” exception, but consider: what if what makes it funny is the shape of the text layout interacting with the shape of a character in the comic? That could be a design (depending on country).

Computer icons are regularly protected by design patents. Many Apple icons share a common idea.

Though, as i have written elsewhere, patents protect embodiments of an idea, not the idea itself, whether the idea is art related or technical.

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