Tag Archives: Design Patents

Lanyard Toys created a popular ‘chalk pencil’ that looked like a stubby pencil but that holds chalk.  Lanyard protected the invention with a design patent.  Remember that a design patent protects the appearance of a product, but not what it does or how it does it.*  Lanyard began selling its chalk pencils through a distributor to Toys-R-Us.  […]

No, I’m not referring to a Cubist masterpiece. Consider the following:  After long, hard work, you’ve created a great design, say, the design above.  Eureka!  Your design would go great with anything.  You can see it on chairs, on baskets, on car seats, on bridges, on tattooed biceps everywhere.  Just think of the possibilities.    But everyone else will want to use […]

Speaking of Apple v Samsung, the Supreme Court issued its decision in this long-running litigation about design patents.  To recap, Samsung copied the design of Apple’s iPhone and infringed Apple’s design patents in the process.  There is no question whether the Apple patents are valid – they are.  There is no question whether Samsung infringed […]

  If you have patents or have been involved in patenting, then you have heard about the  difference between design and utility patents.  The explanation probably went something like this: A utility patent protects how a thing does what it does.  A design patent protects the appearance of the thing. And: A design patent cannot […]

Entire industries are built around the business model of a cheap product and expensive consumables for that product – think ink jet printers, electric toothbrushes and shaving razors.   Controlling replacement parts also is a lucrative sideline for manufacturers of big-ticket items – prime examples are automobile fenders and other collision repair parts. So why don’t […]

  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues both ‘utility’ and ‘design’ patents.  A ‘utility’ patent protects how something works (e.g., the better mousetrap).  A ‘design’ patent protects the appearance of the thing (e.g., a mousetrap bait that resembles cheese).  Design patent law in the U.S. is about to change.  The U.S. has taken the […]

Dear Doc: I have heard that there is something called “trade dress” that can be legally protected, and that it’s different from trade mark and also from design patent and copyright?  What gives? Signed, Sam Sung Dear Sam: Trade dress is pretty broadly defined as the visual impression created by the sum of all elements […]