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

In a surprising move, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) has granted a petition for rehearing en banc on the issue of whether the test for determining obviousness of design patents has been overruled by the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in KSR v. Teleflex, 550 U.S. 398 (2007).  In the case, captioned LKQ Corp. et al v. GM Global Technology, the en banc CAFC has requested briefing as to whether the design patent obviousness test originally set forth in In re Rosen, 673 F.2d 388 (CCPA 1982) and blessed by the CAFC in Durling v. Spectrum Furniture Co., 101 F.3d 100 (Fed. Cir. 1996) is good law in view of the Supreme Court’s obviousness holding in KSR, which significantly modified the obviousness inquiry for utility patents.  While there was no doubt that KSR did not apply to design patents since the underlying obviousness analysis for utility patents differs so significantly from that for design patents, the en banc CAFC has clearly demonstrated a renewed interest in the issue, and any changes to the test can have significant implications for all future-filed, pending, and active design applications and patents. Continue Reading Uncertainty Ahead if Design Patent Obviousness Test is Abrogated by en banc CAFC

Quarles & Brady partner and editor-in-chief of the firm’s Protecting the Product design rights blog, James Aquilina, and patent engineer Harrison Powell attended the 16th Annual USPTO Design Day on May 4, 2023, in Alexandria, Virginia at the USPTO’s Headquarters.

There was a range of programming at Design Day, including remarks from Derrick Brent

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

In a recent district court decision, a New Jersey federal judge granted summary judgment to an accused infringer of a patented design. Skull Shaver LLC. v. IdeaVillage Products Corp., No.18cv3836 (EP) (AME) (D.N.J. Dec. 28, 2022).  In its complaint, Skull Shaver claimed that Ideavillage’s leg shaver infringed its design patent on a head shaver.  The patent-in-suit is U.S. D693,060 (“the D’060 patent”) for an electric head shaver, and the accused product is a Flawless Legs Shaver, which is itself covered by U.S. D853,645 (“the D’645 patent”). Continue Reading Flawless Legs and a Shaved Head? An Ordinary Observer Can Tell the Difference

Oral arguments were held on Thursday, January 12, 2023, in Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc. v. Seirus Innovative Accessories, Inc.  The parties faced off in a rematch at the Federal Circuit following an earlier bout involving the same design patent, U.S. D657,093 (“D’093”) for a “Heat Reflective Material,” which as illustrated side-by-side below had been asserted against Seirus’s HeatWave™ material.Continue Reading Design Patents are Heating Up at the Federal Circuit

As highlighted by a recent decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York[1], 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