PARIS 2010

Professeur: Daniel Laprès

Cabinet d'avocats
29 boulevard Raspail, 75007 Paris
tel: (331) - fax: (331)



    This 30-hour class is dispensed at the Parsons School of Design in Paris in the Design and Management Program.

    It is intended to introduced the students to challenge students to reflect upon the relationships between design and law, in philosophical and economic as well as practical terms.

    The students will be introduced to legal issues arising in a range of contexts in which designers may be involved: industry, commerce and communications.

    In particular, the readings and discussion cover the creation of rights to designs, their protection and exploitation internationally, and the liabilities to which designers are exposed.

    In addition, legal issues arising in connection with working as a designer internationally will be treated with a view to equipping students to approach negotiations of employment and licensing contracts.

    For each class, students should choose topics from the list for each session and prepare a written report (300-500 words) summarizing and evaluating the texts chosen. The reports will be used as focal points for class presentations and discussions and will constitute one of the bases of evaluation.


Session 1 - On the law as design

The law by design:
Natural Law and Natural Design, by Teresa Mia Bejan
Roman law, Book 1, Chapters 1 Justice and Law and 2 Natural, Common, and Civil Law
Les anglo-saxons sont morts, longue vie aux anglo-normands
Liberalism, John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chapter V - Applications
Gandhi, A plea for the severest penalty upon his conviction for sedition
Chinese Communism and the Rule of Law Introduction to Business Law in China 2008
Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner of 2010 - Liu Xiaobo's declaration in court

The law as art:
La justice en images I
La justice en images II

The law in literature:
W. H. Auden, Law like love
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
Emile Zola, J'accuse
Hermman Melville, Moby Dick, Fast Fish and Loose Fish

The law as drama:
The Trial of Socrates
The O.J. Simpson Trial
The Bill Clinton Impeachment Trial

Assignment 1:

What does it mean to "design" a law?
Comment the flow chart of the decision-making process of the European Union.

Session 2 - Introduction to intellectual property

World Intellectual Property Organisation, What is intellectual property?
(Gateway setion)
Utility Models
Industrial designs
Names of geographical origin
Know How
Data bases
Microprocessor designs
Plant varieties

Assignment 2:

For the country of which you are a citizen or a resident, find on the web the laws that protect designs (usually the Patent Law and the Copyright Law). Scan those laws for the word "design" and print out each article of those laws that contains that word. Bring the results to class. Compare the results for your country with the definitions of designs on the WIPO site.

News stories:
Coca Cola
Gallo Wines
Court corks St-Laurent

Session 3 - The economics underlying the law of intellectual property
Whales Get Beached, Don't They? An Essay on the Law and Economics of Copyrights in Music
Balles neuves, service aux pirates, Novembre 2005.
by Daniel A. Laprès, Lex Electronica, vol. 9, n°3, Été 2004

Web readings:
What happens when design standards conflict ?
Find the statistics with respect to trade in commercial services on the site of the World Trade Organization (WTO):
Statistical Report of the World Trade Organization of 2010

News stories:
Steven Stealberg
My Sweet Lord 1 - 2

Assignment 3:
Identify a debate over the imposition of a standard to a communications or design process. Point out the underlying economic issues and the interests and manners of intervention of their promoters.

Sessions 4 and 5 - The meaning and protection of creativity in law

Design Law
The overlap between design and copyright law, by Ian McDonald
Where to draw the copyright/design boundary, by Kumaran & Sagar, Delhi
Why Copyright Law Excludes Systems and Processes from the Scope of Its Protection, Pamela Samuelson
Goldstein on Copyright: A Realist's Approach to Copyright, J.H. Reichman
Fixation of Derivative Works in a Tangible Medium: Technology Forces a Reexamination, Kelly M. Slavitt

Assignments 4 and 5:

Prepare written reports on each of the following cases identifying the relevant facts, the decisive issues and the legal reasoning. Evaluate the results of each case:

Kieselstein-Cord - Questions - Pages 1 - 2
Carol Barnhart - Questions - Pages 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
John Muller v New York Arrows - Illustration - 1
Darden v Peters
Sarah Lee v Nifty Foods - Illustration - 1
Burrows Giles v Sarony - Illustration 1
Batlin & Son v Snyder

News stories:
Yves St-Laurent v Ralph Lauren

Xerox v Apple

Session 6 - Procedures for protecting designs

France, Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle, déposer une marque
European Union, Directive 98/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998 on the legal protection of designs
Guillaume Montreux, Registered and unregistered Community designs compared

Assignment 6:
Research what are the procedures for registering a design in your country. Bring a completed application form with attachments and quantify the charges. For how long is the registration valid? May it be renewed? On what conditions?

Session 7  - Introduction to the protection of intellectual property internationally

Researching Intellectual Property Law in an International Context, by Stefanie Weigmann
The Hague régime

Assignment 7:

Ascertain what treaties your country has signed for the protection of designs. What provisions are there for international extensions of those registrations? At what cost?

Sessions 8 and 9 - General principles of contract

Woolley - Munple - Marvin - Denney

Lucy - Lefkowitz - Hodge - Konic - Bovard

For want of a signature, $ 500,000 lost

Session 10 - Agency law

Pro Golf - Reyes - Chester - Wolfe

Kanavos - Simmons - O'Boyle - Detroit Pure Milk

Session 11 - Product Liability

Koperwas I II - Gowen I II - Anderson I - Martin I II III - Laaperi I II III

Session 12 - Licensing

Articles 81 and 82 of the consolidated version of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community

Red Owl - Bates - Mattis

From the book of readings: articles on planning and negotiating international commercial agreements

Session 13 - e-commerce

Prepare case reports on these cases:
Judas Priest - Affaire Yahoo - Luxury brands v e-Bay

Assignment 8:

Une société française Fashion Heaven lance une activité d'achat et de vente de vêtements et d'accessoires de grandes marques françaises.

La société s'approvisionne en marchandises dans des solderies à Paris moyennant quoi elle les achète à des prix correspondant à environ 10% du prix de détail original.

Ces marchandises sont authentiques en ce qu'elles sont introduites dans le commerce par les titulaires de marques eux-mêmes. Mais considérant que ce sont des marchandises soldées (fins de séries, marchandises légèrement défectueuses, etc.), elles sont vendues aux soldeurs à des prix extrêmement bas.

La société Fashion Heaven les revend sur et Pour la promotion des articles offerts sur ebay, le persponnel de la société réalise ses propres photos des produits et, en plus, achète des photos "runway" auprès de sociétés spécialisées. Pour chaque article proposé sur le site d'ebay, elle écrit un texte promotionnel affiché sur ebay dans lequel est mentionnée la marque du produit offert. Les textse vantent la qualité des produits et la renommée de la marque pour mieux vendre les produits. Rien ne transparaît dans les textes sur ebay sur le fait que les produits offerts sont du "second choix".

La société Fashion Heaven réalise des marges très importantes et développe un commerce florissant.

Mais au fil des mois, de plus en plus de produits contrefaits font leur apparition sur ebay jusqu'à en noyer le site d'ebay sans que le consommateur non spécialisé puisse aisément distinguer les produits authentiques des produits contrefaits.

Sous les menaces chaque jour plus graves des titulaires des grandes marques, ebay décide d'interdire toutes les ventes de vêtements de marques par des fournisseurs autres que les titulaires des marques elles-mêmes ou leurs concessionnaires officiels.

Du jour au lendemain, Fashion Heaven est interdite d'accès au site d'ebay et son chiffre d'affaire tombe à zéro.

Est-ce que la société Fashion Heaven a des recours? Contre qui? Avec quelles chances de succès?

Session 14 - Negotiating international design services and design-related contracts

Web research:

Find and bring to class a draft for at least two of the following types of agreements:

Employment as a designer

Independent contractor providing design services

Design sale

Licensing agreement to designs

Non-disclosure agreement

Confidentialy agreement

Session 15 - Ethics and law in international business

Vokes - Lefkowitz - Reed - Cross - Pillsbury - Henry Ford


Original sources of law

US Historical Documents

Legal Expression

High Definition
Legal Writing Success - Test Your Legal Writing
Legal Writing Success - Legal Writing Links
Making Your Point: Exaggerations, Disparagements and OtherIntensifiers

On good legal writing


Design Law in Europe: An Analysis of the Protection of Artistic, Industrial, and Functional Designs Under Copyright, Design, Unfair Competit (Hardcover) (used from $ 8.40 by Uma Suthersanen

European Design Protection, Commentary To Directive and Regulation (Hardcover) by Mario Franzosi (Editor) (new from $ 325)

Design Law: Protecting and Exploiting Rights (Paperback) ($ 156) by Margaret Briffa (Author), Lee Gage (Author)

Design Protection: A Practical Guide to the Law on Plagiarism for Manufacturers and Designers (Hardcover) (sued from $ 7.97) by Dan Johnston

Copyright for the Nineties, Cases and Materials, Robert A. Gorman, Jane C. Ginsburg, Contemporary Legal Education Series, New York, 1993

Software and Internet Law, Mark A. Lemley, Peter S. Menell, Robert E. Merges, Pamela Samuelson, Aspen Law, New York, 2000


Evaluation is based on a written final exam (60%), a major term projet (20%) and class assignments as per above and participation in class discussions (20%). The major term project is the realisation of an individual contribution to the School's annual design exhibition on the theme "Law by design, design by law". Message and medium should be discussed with the professor before implementation.
Examples of student works: Lamnuiere - Maertens - Norford-Jones - Unceta


Cabinet d'avocats
29 boulevard Raspail, 75007 Paris
tel: (331) - fax: (331)

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