I am a business owner and I have a competitor who plays dirty in general. My competitor is very greedy and does not want to spend money and pay lawyer.

So she took my contract, I use to serve customers and used it as a template for her contract, copied it word to word. A few details are changed, like payment requisites and maximum allowed service periods, but otherwise it's the same contact and I some time ago I have payed a lawyer to create template.

So, is contract text itself subject to copyright? What are my options?

P.S. Answers for European jurisdictions are more welcome.

1 Answer 1


is contract text itself subject to copyright? What are my options?

It largely depends on the originality of your contract.

C & J Management Corp. v. Anderson, 707 F.Supp.2d 858, 862 (2009) points to multiple references against preclusion of "a copyrightable interest in a contract". But you would need to prove that your competitor copied "original elements" of your contract including "a minimum degree of creativity and originality required to support a valid copyright". See Donald v. Uarco Business Forms, 478 F.2d 764, 766 (1973). Your post provides no information that would help identifying or ruling out this issue in your matter.

Without realizing, you might have paid dearly for boilerplate language that your lawyer copied from somewhere else. Indeed, there is so much regurgitation and copy/pasting in the legal "profession" (judges included, as is notorious in judicial opinions they release and in the similarities --verbatim-- among the procedure law of many, many U.S. jurisdictions). That regurgitation is not bad in and of itself, though, since what matters is the expeditious administration of justice and the protection of your rights, rather than obtaining creative expressions authored by some lawyer.

You might end up wasting valuable energy and money if you went after the competitor for something like this without first assessing the extent of originality in your contract. Focus instead on the much more detrimental fact that your competitor "plays dirty in general".

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