As outlined in our previous post, on June 1, 2021 the Fourth Amendment to the Chinese Patent Law came into effect, allowing partial claiming in design patent applications.  Until this past May, examination of most Chinese partial claim design patent applications had been held up by the China National Intellectual Property Administration (“CNIPA”), since the CNIPA had not published formal Examination Guidelines for partial design claiming.  While formal Examination Guidelines have still not been published, the CNIPA has recently been issuing Office actions rejecting certain partial designs for failing to form a “relatively independent area” or a “relatively complete design unit” of a product.  Since unclaimed broken lines can only be converted to solid lines (and vice versa) within two months from the Chinese filing date, a rejection indicating that the design fails to form a relatively independent area or a relatively complete design unit on a product can possibly mature into an incurable defect.Continue Reading Navigating Partial Design Rejections in China

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

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

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

China’s Copyright Law protects “works of literature, art, natural science, social science, engineering technology and the like which are expressed in the following forms: (1) written works; (2) oral works; (3) musical, dramatic, theatrical, choreographic and acrobatic artworks; (4) works of the fine arts and architecture; (5) pictorial and photographic works; (6) audiovisual works; (7) graphic works such as drawings of engineering designs, product designs, maps and sketches, etc.; (8) computer software; and (9) other intellectual achievements conforming to the characteristics of the works.” China’s copyright law protects the expression of ideas instead of ideas themselves, which is similar to U.S. copyright law.
Continue Reading Protecting Product and Packaging Designs in China Part II – Copyright