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Is a productmanual copyrightable?

A product manual usually includes a front and back cover, product images with descriptions, technical specifications, usage instructions, and operational methods. Although the content of a product manual is often straightforward and lacking in originality, it typically meets the low threshold for copyright protection. While the information and functions described in the manual are not covered by copyright, the unique expression of the information through text and graphics is protected. In a competitive environment, it is common for others to imitate or plagiarize a product manual. However, if the alleged infringer does not use the victim's trademark or own the relevant patent, it can be challenging to take legal action for trademark or patent infringement. In such cases, the victim may consider pursuing copyright infringement. Nevertheless, plagiarizers may avoid infringement accusations by making significant changes to the manual. It is worth noting that copyright protection can be sought even when trademark or patent law is not applicable.


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