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

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 Junker v. Medical Components, Inc.: 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

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 In re SurgiSil : Much More than a Cosmetic Change to Design Patent Law

On October 17, 2020, the Chinese Legislature passed the Fourth Amendment to the Chinese Patent Law, which will come into effect on June 1, 2021. As discussed in our previous post, the Fourth Amendment included several updates that help move Chinese Design Patent Law toward harmonization with the laws of most major markets.  As June 1st quickly approaches, the article below highlights and expands upon some of the major updates coming to Chinese Design Patent Law.
Continue Reading A Quick Dive Into the Upcoming Changes to Chinese Design Patent Law

This is the first article in a planned series that will analyze available design protection strategies for various categories of products.

Now that the era of work-from-anywhere and software-for-any-service has fully arrived, obtaining proper legal protection for software is paramount for many companies.  However, due to an expansive interpretation by courts of the “abstract idea” exception to utility patent eligibility in recent years, protection for software-based systems and methods via utility patents has been made difficult.  Accordingly, companies in this space should look to employ design-related rights to protect their software.

In this post, we will address how design patent, copyright, and trademark laws can be employed  to provide protection for software-based designs.
Continue Reading Protecting the Product™: Software

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a notice in the Federal Register on December 21, 2020, requesting comments from the public related to the “article of manufacture” requirement for design patent eligibility appearing in Title 35, United States Code, Section 171. In particular, the USPTO asked whether the article of manufacture requirement should be revised to encompass “disembodied” designs made perceptible by new and emerging technologies. The comment period closed on February 04, 2021, with a total of 19 public comments received.
Continue Reading Quick Take on Results of USPTO Request for Comments on Article of Manufacture Requirement for Designs