Are there any regulations for the copyright of aircraft's model design between competitors in the aircraft industries? Basically is there a regulation for avoid that one company just steals the project of a competitor to produce a version very close to the original?

  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for my english, feel free to modify. $\endgroup$ – Andrea Ghilardi Apr 24 '18 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ These idea about copying an aircraft's design came in my mind after seen the Sherpa 650t which seems very close to a pc-6. I am not familiar with that aircraft and I obviously not suggesting that is the same at the pilatus but I am just saying that they look very similar one to another, so I got this idea. I hope that I explained myself clearly. $\endgroup$ – Andrea Ghilardi Apr 24 '18 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ Similar requirements tend to lead to similar designs. Nothing to do with copyright laws, nor trademark. Any document is implicitly under copyright in most countries, so you can't make a photo copy of a design drawing without permission. That's all copyright law does. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Mar 25 '19 at 5:10

This is more of a law issue rather than aviation issue. Anyway here it goes: No, there is no copyright to prevent one manufacturer from copying another aircraft because aircraft design is not protected by copyright.

The first rule about copyright is that it "protects an expression of an idea but not the idea itself". It protects technical diagrams, documents, recording etc, but not the idea expressed in them. Therefore if one simply photocopy the schematics, it would be a copyright violation. But if you reproduce what you see, it is legal.

The word you are probably looking for is "patent", which protects an idea. Aircraft manufacturers do have patents when they come up with something revolutionary. A quick search for "Airbus patent" turns up quite a few results. Whether you agree that particular idea was revolutionary enough for a patent though is another story.

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    $\begingroup$ Just take the Boeing 727 as an example which was targeted squarely at the Hawker-Siddeley Trident's market and succeeded in displacing it almost everywhere. $\endgroup$ – Peter Kämpf Apr 24 '18 at 18:21

Within countries, you have patents that protect the work of one company from being taken by another. Between companies in different countries is a whole different mess to deal with as some of it depends on diplomatic relations.

  • $\begingroup$ Not sure if this constitutes a whole other answer, but in countries like the United States, projects that are top secret (Have Blue, Archangel, Oxcart, for starters) all have proprietary technologies that are prohibited from export, or even carrying over for projects for other agencies/military branches. In fact, this is the main reason the F-22 Raptor is not allowed to be sold even to longtime powerful allies of the US, such as Germany, South Korea, and the UK, although all three could definitely afford a considerable number of them. If this gives you a better idea of the situation. $\endgroup$ – Jihyun Apr 24 '18 at 18:05

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