Intellectual Property Litigation

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

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 Junker v. Medical Components, Inc.: Pre-filing Offers for Sale Trigger Patent “On-Sale Bar”

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

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 Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Super-Sparkly Safety Stuff, LLC v. Skyline USA, Inc. reinforces best practices for design patent enforcement and procurement. An important takeaway from this decision is that when enforcing design patents in litigation, patent owners should develop record evidence from fact and expert witnesses to assist the court in the ordinary observer analysis to ensure that motions for summary judgment of non-infringement are decided with a sufficient record. Another important consideration for design patent holders is that when protecting designs, rights holders should consider robust filing strategies to protect iterative and varying aspects of important designs. These strategies may help companies avoid early judgment of non-infringement when they enforce their design patents by limiting the options of a defendant during the early stages of litigation.
Continue Reading Pepper Spray Manufacturer’s Successful Self-Defense Reinforces Best Practices for Design Patents

The end-of-year shopping season started strong in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that kept many consumers in their homes and buying online. Brand owners and sellers should thus be mindful of the various options at their disposal to stop counterfeit goods from stealing legitimate e-sales and disappointing unsuspecting consumers who are unable to inspect goods when purchasing online.
Continue Reading Tips and Tools for Sellers to Combat Online Counterfeits During the Holiday Shopping Season