Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Arizona

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,


Asked on 11/06/03, 10:17 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Lawrence Graves Coolidge & Graves PLLC

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.

Best wishes,


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Answered on 11/07/03, 8:32 am

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