This article supplements our previous post with updated 2021 data.

U.S. design patents continue to grow in popularity. Although 2021 saw a slight downtick in the number of issued design patents compared to the previous two years—most likely caused by lower filings during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic—the number of U.S. design patents that issued in 2021 was still greater than the number of U.S. design patents that issued in each year between 2012-2018, and was more than 50% greater than the number of U.S. design patents that issued in 2012. With the number of U.S. design patent examiners also increasing, we expect the number of issued designs in 2022 to outpace 2021 and possibly set a new annual issuance record. Continue Reading Recent Trends in Article of Manufacture of Design Patent Claims: GUIs Remain King

Protecting the Product’s Editor-in-Chief James Aquilina and regular contributor Joseph Ambrose will each teach sessions at the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s “Design Rights Boot Camp” on June 23-24, 2022, in Arlington, Virginia. Continue Reading Two Quarles & Brady Design Lawyers to Present at AIPLA’s “Design Rights Boot Camp” on June 23-24

China’s Copyright Law protects “works of literature, art, natural science, social science, engineering technology and the like which are expressed in the following forms: (1) written works; (2) oral works; (3) musical, dramatic, theatrical, choreographic and acrobatic artworks; (4) works of the fine arts and architecture; (5) pictorial and photographic works; (6) audiovisual works; (7) graphic works such as drawings of engineering designs, product designs, maps and sketches, etc.; (8) computer software; and (9) other intellectual achievements conforming to the characteristics of the works.” China’s copyright law protects the expression of ideas instead of ideas themselves, which is similar to U.S. copyright law. Continue Reading Protecting Product and Packaging Designs in China Part II – Copyright

Like the United States, China offers protection for 2D and 3D designs of products and packaging, which is often known by U.S. consumers and practitioners as “trade dress.” This four-part miniseries of posts provides a birds-eye view of protections available in China for two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) design elements of products or packaging under trademark, copyright, design patent, and anti-unfair competition laws. It focuses on the similarities and dissimilarities of different aspects of intellectual property (IP) law in China and how they interact with each other. Continue Reading Protecting Product and Packaging Designs in China Part I – Trademarks

Earlier this month, ten of the world’s largest companies were accused of infringing design patents claiming animated graphical user interfaces (GUIs). These assertions were made in addition to at least ten other lawsuits filed since September 2021 asserting animated GUI design patents. Given the breadth of the asserted design patents, these cases potentially raise issues of first impression related to claim construction, infringement, and functionality. Continue Reading Companies Performing Financial Transactions Stuck in GUI Design Patent Infringement Cases

A recent Federal Circuit decision, Junker v. Med. Components, Inc., No. 2021-1649 (Feb. 10, 2022), serves as a warning to prospective filers that making pre-filing offers for sale, or engaging in discussions for future sales, can be detrimental to one’s ability to obtain both design and utility patents. Continue Reading <i>Junker v. Medical Components, Inc.</i>: Pre-filing Offers for Sale Trigger Patent “On-Sale Bar”

According to the recently-published 2021 US Design Patent Toteboard, Quarles & Brady was once again a top ten firm nationally for the most United States design patents obtained for its clients in the year 2021. This is the fourth consecutive year that the firm has appeared on this list. Continue Reading Quarles & Brady Again a Top Design Patent Firm in 2021

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently determined that the owner of the iconic Dr. Martens trade dress—a famous design that has been used for more than three decades—was entitled to a permanent injunction against ITX USA for its use of footwear designs that are similar to the overall visual impression of the Dr. Martens trade dress. Continue Reading Dr. Martens Kicks Infringers to the Curb

Over the last 20 years, the total number of design patents issued per year in the United States has erupted. As illustrated in the graph below and further highlighted in this animated graph, in the 30 year period between the years 1971 and 2000 a total of nearly 219,000 design patents were issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). In the 20 years since the year 2000, nearly 471,000 design patents have been issued, representing an annual issue count of more than three times that of the previous 30 year period. While the overall number of issued designs continues to increase each decade, one particular article of manufacture has seen the largest uptick in popularity among design patents issued over the last ten years: graphical user interfaces. Continue Reading Recent Trends in Article of Manufacture of Design Claims: A Modern Digital Popularity Contest

A recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has fundamentally altered the law on prior art anticipation for design patent applications. In this decision, captioned In re: SurgiSil, L.L.P. et al., No. 2020-1940 (Oct. 4, 2021), the Federal Circuit reversed a decision by the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”), which had previously affirmed an examiner’s anticipation rejection of a design patent claim for a lip implant based on a prior art reference depicting a similarly-shaped tool for artists. Continue Reading <i>In re SurgiSil</i> : Much More than a Cosmetic Change to Design Patent Law