The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is amending the rules of practice in patent cases by creating a separate space for individuals with educational backgrounds in design-related disciplines to qualify to practice before the USPTO in the limited capacity of design patent application proceedings. This new rule does not impact those already registered to practice any patent matters before the USPTO. The USPTO, with this rule amendment, will now recognize applicants to the design patent bar that have degrees in any of industrial design, product design, architecture, applied arts, graphic design, fine/studio arts, art teacher education, or a degree equivalent to one of the listed degrees. This list of educational backgrounds matches those sought out by the USPTO to fill out the ranks of the design patent examination corps.Continue Reading New USPTO Design Patent “Bar” to be Created in 2024
James has extensive practice experience in all aspects of U.S. intellectual property law and regularly counsels clients in the areas of utility and design patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret law, with emphases on rights procurement, portfolio development and management, rights enforcement, and licensing.
As we’ve written about in prior posts, it’s possible under U.S. trademark law for distinctive visual element(s) to become a trademark, i.e., an identifier of source for a particular party’s goods or services.Continue Reading The Blue Turf of Boise State: On “Service” Dress and the Creation of Source Identification
Last week, in a precedential decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) clarified the law on comparison prior art in design patent cases. In the decision, captioned Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc. v. Seirus Innovative Accessories, Inc., No. 2021-2299, 21-2338 (Sept. 15, 2023), the Federal Circuit provided guidance on the types of prior art that can be reviewed by courts and juries in the comparative prior art stage of the infringement analysis of design patent cases. In the initial case, Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc. (“Columbia”) sued Seirus Innovative Accessories, Inc. (“Seirus”) for infringing U.S. Design Patent No. D657,093 (“the D’093 Patent”) via sales of its products containing HeatWave™ liner material, as illustrated side-by-side below.Continue Reading Design Patents are Heating Up at the Federal Circuit, Again
The recent proliferation of useful Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) tools for tasks like text, image, music, and software code generation is all the rage. In the intellectual property sphere, one of the hottest topics surrounding the use of these AI tools is whether the works of art or inventions (including works of industrial design) created using these tools can still be considered the creation of the individual author or designer. This question is of critical importance because the U.S. copyright and patent laws are currently written in a way that require human creation to be eligible for protection.Continue Reading AI & IP: A Not-so-Perfect Pairing
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN – 16th Annual USPTO Design Day on May 4, 2023
Registration for the 16th Annual USPTO Design Day 2023 has been made available and interested parties can register virtually or in person here.
The 16th annual Design Day will be held on May 4, 2023, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. ET…
The USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) recently ordered the cancellation of two trademark registrations for product configurations of safety helmets, shown below and both directed to “… a three dimensional configuration of two ridges located along the center of a safety helmet….”Continue Reading Safety Helmet Product Configuration Trademark Registrations Demolished by Lack of Evidence of Acquired Distinctiveness
Save the Date to Attend the 16th Annual USPTO Design Day
The 2023 iteration of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)’s annual Design Day will be held on May 4, 2023, with options to attend either in-person at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia or virtually.
Registration will be made available in April 2023, and we will share the sign-up link with our blog readers at that time. Quarles’ design patent attorneys have spoken at previous Design Days and will once again be in attendance at this year’s event.Continue Reading SAVE THE DATE – 16th Annual USPTO Design Day Announced for May 4, 2023
As highlighted by a recent decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, a party’s failure to properly mark its products with its issued U.S. patent number(s) will very likely result in a complete loss of the ability to recover infringement damages that occurred prior to the delivery of a specific allegation of infringement to an accused infringer. As further explained below, companies should thus very seriously consider the inclusion of patent markings on all relevant products.
Continue Reading Failure to Mark Patent Number on Products Results in Complete Loss of Pre-Suit Infringement Damages
While copyright law is at the center of a few recent disputes over intellectual property protection for typefaces and fonts, design patents are an often-overlooked mechanism for protecting these designs. Those who develop or license fonts will benefit from the following summary of the available protections for the visual appearance of typefaces and fonts, which includes novel “emoji” sets.
Continue Reading Protecting the Product™: Typefaces and Fonts
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