By Jiang Ling, Partner, King & Wood’s Trademark Department
The term "works" used and protected under the Copyright Law refers to original intellectual creations in the literary, artistic and the scientific domain, in so far as they are capable of being reproduced in a certain tangible form. As for literal works, this refers to the works manifested in text form, no matter how long it is or what type or format of literature it uses. As long as it is original, it should be within the scope of protection by the PRC Copyright Law (as well as Trademarks as previously discussed). Therefore, it can be concluded that an advertising slogan is in principle not excluded from copyright protection on the condition that it is original. However, the Copyright Law does not define what "original" is. Judging by judicial practice, the expression of original works may not necessarily be unprecedented, and re-creation based on previous intellectual works of others is not forbidden either. In general, works possess originality as long as it is created by the author independently rather than plagiarizing others’ works which bears some personalized characteristics. Thus, it is possible for slogans to be copyrighted.
Continue Reading Just Do It!? Protecting Advertising Slogans in China Part II