can rating systems be copyrighted?
I have a question which concerns giving items a rating. I want to rate music albums on a rating scale of 1 Microphone to 5 microphones. 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. There is a magazine which has the same microphone rating system. I would however be using a different microphone image to rate the music.
Can a rating system be protected? I see that everyone rates movies on a star system, so I am a little curious.
Thanks for your help,
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: can rating systems be copyrighted?
Not a copyright issue but rather one of trademark. A quick check of the USPTO database indicates that AAA obtained a registration for its Four Diamond Award -- no distinct registration for its "diamond" rating system, but I would expect a court to generally enforce that system. I doubt that a "star" rating system would work, but your idea of a "microphone" system sounds plausible as sufficiently distinctive to create a brand association.
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