Quarles & Brady Partner and editor-in-chief of the firm’s Protecting the Product design rights blog, James Aquilina, Partner Michael Piery, Associate Rachel Ackerman, and patent professionals Harrison Powell and Audrey Jacobson attended the 17th Annual USPTO Design Day on May 9, 2024 at the USPTO’s Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

There was a range of programming at Design Day, including remarks from Quan-Ling Sim, Head Operations Service of the Hague Registry, who explained best practices for using the Hague system, David Gerk, from the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the USPTO, who provided an update on the status of the Design Law Treaty, and Karen Young, Director of the USPTO’s Technology Center 2900, who delivered the “State of the Design Technology Center,” amongst a variety of other presentations and conversations with members of the design law community.

A few key takeaways from the programing include:

  • Class D14, corresponding to Recording, Communication, or Information Retrieval Equipment, currently includes the highest number of filings of any design class.
  • A diplomatic conference to finalize the Design Law Treaty (DLT) is set to take place in Saudi Arabia this November.  The USPTO is accepting public comments on the negotiations at WIPO regarding the DLT.  Comments may be submitted here, and the comment period will close on June 25, 2024.
  • As of January 2, 2024, the USPTO has amended its rule of practice to create a new design patent practitioner designation related to a “design patent attorney” or a “design patent agent.”  Eligibility for admission requires an accredited college or university degree in a Category D discipline.
  • Representatives from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) provided practice tips and encouraged practitioners to take advantage of the Legal Experience and Advancement Program (LEAP), which provides training and oral advocacy opportunities for practitioners that have delivered three or fewer substantive oral arguments in any federal tribunal.

Further, a range of recent design cases were discussed, such as Columbia Sportswear North America v. Seirus Innovative Accessorieswhich narrowed the scope of the Egyptian Goddess test and indicated that logos may be considered in an assessment of a design—and LKQ Corp. et al. v. GM Global Technology Operations LLC, in which oral arguments were held on February 5, 2024, and relating to the appropriate legal standard for design patent obviousness.