Ching vs. Salinas Case Digest

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CASE TITLE: Jessie Ching v. William Salinas, Sr. , William Salinas, Jr. , Josephine Salinas, Jennifer Salinas, Alonto Solaiman Salle, John Eric Salinas, Noel Yabut (Board of Directors and Officers of WILAWARE PROUDCT CORPORATION) PETITIONER’S CLAIMS: Petitioner’s insisted that his works are covered by Sections 172. 1 and 172. 2 of the Intellectual Property Code and that the copyright certificates issued by the National Library are prima facie evidence of its validity, citing the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals in one of its cases.

He claims that the IPC provides in no uncertain terms that copyright protection automatically attaches to a work by the sole fact of its creation, irrespective of its mode or form of expression, as well as of its content, quality or purpose. As such, the petitioner insists, notwithstanding the classification of the works as either literary and/or artistic, the said law, likewise, encompasses works which may have a bearing on the utility aspect to which the petitioner’s utility designs were classified.

Moreover, according to the petitioner, what the Copyright Law protects is the author’s intellectual creation, regardless of whether it is one with utilitarian functions or incorporated in a useful article produced on n industrial scale. The petitioner also maintains that the law does not provide that the intended use or use in industry of an article eligible for patent bars or invalidates its registration under the Law on Copyright. The test of protection for the aesthetic is not beauty and utility, but art for the copyright ad invention of original and ornamental design for design patents.

In like manner, the fact that his utility designs or models for articles of manufacture have been expressed in the field of automotive parts, or based on something already in the public domain does not automatically remove them from the protection of the Law on Copyright. RESPONDENT’S CLAIMS: The respondents aver that the work of the petitioner is essentially a technical solution to the problem of wear and tear in automobiles. Such work, the respondents assert, is the subject of coyright under Section 172. 1 of IPC.

The respondents posit that a technical solution in any field of human activity which is novel may be the subject of a patent, and not of a copyright. They insist that the certificates issued by the National Library are only certifications that, at a point in time, a certain work was deposited in the said office. Furthermore, the registration of copyrights does not provide for automatic protection. The respondents aver that no copyright is said to exist if a party categorically questions its existence and legality citing Section 218. (b) of IPC. The respondents maintain that a copyright exists only when the work is covered by the protection of IPC. ISSUE: Whether or not the item sbject of the petition is considered work or art and thus within the scope of the Copyright law protected by the Intellectual Property Code. RULING: Section 171. 10 provides that a “work of applied art” is an artistic creation with utilitarian functions or incorporated in a useful article whether made by hand or produced on an industrial scale.

But as gleaned from the specifications appended to the application for a copyright certificate filed by the petitioner, the said Leaf Spring Eye Bushing for Automobile is merely a utility model. Likewise, the Vehicle Bearing Cushion is illustrated as a bearing cushion. Plainly, these are not literary or artistic works. They are not intellectual creations in the literary and artistic domain, or works of applied art. They are certainly not ornamental designs or one having decorative quality or value.

The focus of copyright is the usefulness of the artistic design, and not its marketability. Works for applied art include all original pictorials, graphics and sculptural works that are intended to be or have been embodied in useful article regardless of factors such as mass production, commercial exploitation, and the potential availability of design patent protection. While works of applied art, original intellectual, literary and artistic works are copyrightable, useful articles and works of industrial design are not.

A useful article may be copyrightable only if and only to the extent that such design incorporates pictorial, graphic or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of the utilitarian aspects of the article. There is no copyright protection for works of applied art or industrial design which have aesthetic or artistic features that cannot be identified separately from the utilitarian aspects of the article.

Functional components of useful articles, no matter how artistically designed, have generally been denied copyright protection unless they are separable from the useful articles. In this case, the petitioner’s models are not works of applied art, nor artistic works. They are utility models useful articles, albeit with no artistic design or value. A utility model is a technical solution to a problem in any field of human activity which is new ad industrially applicable. It may be, or may relate to, a product, or process or an improvement of any of the aforesaid.

Essentially, a utility model refers to an invention in the mechanical field. A utility model varies from an invention which is available on at least three aspects: first, the requisite of “ inventive step” in a patent for invention is not required; second, the maximum term of protection is only seven years compared to a patent which is twenty years, both reckoned from the date of the application; and third, the provisions on utility model dispense with its substantive examination and prefer for a less complicated system.

The Leaf Spring Eye Bushing and Vehicle Bearing Cushion are not copyrightable, being not of the same kind and nature as the works enumerated in Section 172 of IPC. In Kho v. Court of Appeals and Pearl & Dean (Phil), Inc. v. Shoemart, Inc, the Court ruled that “these copyright and patent rights are completely distinct and separate from one another, and the protection afforded by one cannot be used interchangeable to cover items or works that exclusively pertain to others. ”