Monday, March 25, 2013

Design Patent Links

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of design patent activity, ranging from academia, Computer-Generated Icons, and even the fashion industry.  It’s far too much to post about separately, so, without further ado, we give you this week’s Design Patent Links!

“The Fashion Law” blog is reporting on Stella McCartney’s design patent for a bestselling Lucia mesh polka dot dress from her Fall 2012 collection.  The London based company’s design patent arrived just in time for fashion week.  According to New York Law School’s “Legal As She is Spoke” blog suggested that McCartney’s design patent was just for publicity, “but could prove not to be all that helpful.”

Real Housewifes of New York star and owner/inventor of Yummie Tummie Heather, Thomson, might beg to differ with Legal As She Spoke. Yummie Tummie was sued by shapewear heavy hitter Spanx on March 5, seeking a declaratory judgment of noninfringement of several of Ms. Thomson’s design patents after Yummie sent Spanx cease and desist letters concerning Spanx’s design patents.  The National Law Review provided a nice summary of this shapewear design patent case. Many other outfits are also covering the story, including IPWatchdog, Womens Wear Daily, New York Magazine, and the Huffington Post.  But what several commentators failed to mention is that this is not Yummie Tummie’s first design patent rodeo.  As we have mentioned before on this blog, Yummie Tummie settled a declaratory judgment action brought by Maidenform after Maidenform paid Yummie Tummie 6.75 Million.  In 2011, Yummie Tummie also filed a design patent infringement action against LF USA, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based apparel manufacturer Li & Fung, Ltd.  Yummie Tummie has aggressively defended its design patents in the past, and we suspect this case will be no different.  Spanx may be surprised by how not “Yummie” this case might become for them.

As design patents continue to gain credibility with practitioners, academia is also beginning to take note. On April 5-6, 2013, Stanford Law School will host “a major conference on design patents,” titled “Design Patents in the Modern World.” The conference is sponsored by the Stanford Program in Law, Science, & Technology, Samsung Electronics, Nike, and Google and will include public conference on April 5 and a one-day academic symposium with papers on design patents from the leading scholars in the world on design patent issues. Included among the articles slated for discussion is an article co-authored by yours truly and University of Kansas School of Law professor Andrew Torrance. The article is titled “(R)evolution in Design Patent Subject Matter: The Shifting Meaning of ‘Article of Manufacture,” and provides an historical review of the “article of manufacture” requirement in design patent law. Stanford’s design patent conference will be open to the public.

1 comment :

  1. There is this that has a very good logo design to it that makes it super easy to read and looks very good. I do like all these and ideas I will have to use them on some of the webpages Im building. Very good blog! Keep up the good work.