University of London Press Ltd v University Tutorial Press Ltd: ChD 1916

In a copyright claim, the test of originality which had to be passed was set out by Peterson J, saying: ‘The word ‘original’ does not in this connection mean that the work must be the expression of original or inventive thought. Copyright Acts are not concerned with the originality of ideas, but with the expression of thought, and, in the case of ‘literary work,’ with the expression of thought in print or writing. The originality which is required relates to the expression of the thought. But the Act does not require that the expression must be in an original or novel form, but that the work must not be copied from another work – that it should originate from the author. In the present case it was not suggested that any of the papers were copied. Professor Lodge and Mr Jackson proved that they had thought out the questions which they set, and that they made notes or memoranda for future questions and drew on those notes for the purposes of the questions which they set. The papers which they prepared originated from themselves, and were, within the meaning of the Act, original. It was said, however, that they drew upon the stock of knowledge common to mathematicians, and that the time spent in producing the questions was small. These cannot be the tests for determining whether copyright exists. If an author, for the purposes of copyright, must not draw on the stock of knowledge which is common to himself and others who are students of the same branch of learning, only those historians who discovered fresh historical facts could acquire copyright for their works.’
and ‘there remains the rough practical test that what is worth copying is prima facie worth protecting.’

Peterson J
[1916] 2 Ch 601, (1916) 1B IPR 186
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDesigners Guild Ltd v Russell Williams (Textiles) Ltd CA 26-Mar-1999
The claimant alleged copying of designs. The defendant appealed a finding that copying had taken place.
Held: The rejection of the dissection test in Ladbroke was as to the subsistence of copyright and not as to infringement. Evidence of those . .
ApprovedLadbroke (Football) Ltd v William Hill (Football) Ltd HL 1964
What is substantial copying
The plaintiff alleged copying of their football pools coupons and copyright infringement. The issues were as to the extent of copying required to establish infringement, and whether it was proper to look at the several parts of the work separately. . .
CitedSawkins v Hyperion Records Limited ChD 5-Jul-2004
The claimant had edited ancient music scores so as to be ready for performance for the defendant. He asserted a copyright. The defendants argued that the contribution was too little to create a copyright.
Held: To succeed Dr Sawkins had to . .
CitedRedwood Music Ltd v Chappell and Co Ltd ChD 1982
It was submitted that an arrangement of an existing musical work only attracted a separate copyright if it involved great skill and labour. After referring to the University of London Press Limited, the court held: ‘That passage was cited with . .
CitedThe Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd and Others v Meltwater Holding Bv and Others ChD 26-Nov-2010
The claimant newspapers complained of the spidering of the web-sites and redistribution of the materials collected by the defendants to its subscribers. The defendants including the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) denied that they . .
CitedThe Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd and Others v Meltwater Holding Bv and Others CA 27-Jul-2011
The defendant companies provided media monitoring services, automatically searching web-sites for terms of interest. The claimant newspapers operated a licensing system through the first claimant permitting the re-use of the content on its members . .
CitedInterlego AG v Tyco Industries Inc PC 5-May-1988
How much new material for new copyright
(Hong Kong) Toy building bricks were manufactured by Lego in accordance with engineering drawings made for that purpose. One issue was whether new drawings made since 1972, altering the original drawings in various minor respects but added new . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.191978