Legal Works as Creative Works: The Original Decision of the Court of Venice

In March, the IP Court of Venice (Court) provided a unique ruling on copyright law.

The Court ruled on an issue concerning the application of Italian copyright laws to protect a legal work created by a lawyer works.

A lawyer (Plaintiff) sued an entity (Entity), which was organizing an exposition for the infringement of Plaintiff’s moral rights due to the non-authorized use of a document containing IP policy guidelines (Document) to be distributed among the exhibitors, which entirely reproduced a document drafted years ago by the Plaintiff for another entity.

The Entity claimed that the Document was actually provided by its lawyer who worked with the Plaintiff in the past. The Entity joined that lawyer as an additional party to the proceedings.

The Court ruled that legal works can be protected as creative works worthy of protection under Italian copyright law. The Court indicated the Document was the outcome of the personal, creative and original elaboration of legal concepts resulting from the Plaintiff’s professional background. Consequently, the Court found the Entity’s lawyer liable for plagiarism and counterfeiting.

The decision of the IP Court of Venice needs to be confirmed by the Italian Supreme Court, and is valid unless and until there is an appeal. In the meantime, we can dare to consider legal work as a work of art!

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