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American Dental Ass'n v. Delta Dental Plans Ass'n, 126 F.3d 977 (1997) p110


Copyrightable material - numbering system


Dental association brought action against dental insurer, alleging infringement of its taxonomy of dental procedures.


The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, James B. Zagel, ruled that taxonomy was not copyrightable, and association appealed.


Whether or not forms with numbers are copyrightable. Whether or not a blank form is


An original numbering system is copyrightable.


The Court of Appeals, Easterbrook, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) dental association's taxonomy was original work of authorship entitled to copyright protection, and (2) taxonomy was not uncopyrightable "system." Vacated and remanded.


The form is not copyrightable, but the numbering system is because the numbering system involved creativity. Dental association's taxonomy of dental procedures, which included both long and short description of the procedure and assigned a number to the short description, was original work of authorship entitled to copyright protection. Classification is a creative endeavor.