Monday, April 8, 2013

Design Patent Links

The biggest design patent news from the last week was clearly Stanford Law School’s Design Patents in the Modern World conference, which was held last Friday and Saturday.  If you thought the popularity of design patents was being exaggerated lately, please see the below photograph from the event, courtesy of Mark Lemley, via Twitter:

The conference seems to have come off without a hitch.  The overarching comments from Twitter suggest that the functionality doctrine was the predominant issue during Friday’s conference portion of the event.  See, e.g:


The Academic Day appears to have focused more on the “article of manufacture” requirement and computer-generated icons, with three separate articles on this sub-topic.  To view all of the live comments on the conference, please visit the Twitter hashtag, designpatents2013. Thank you to the conference organizers, presenters, and authors for promoting this event.  Design patents were seriously overdue for a rigorous symposium. Hopefully this will be the first of many such conferences.

In other news, Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(B)log had an interesting post on Carson Optical v. Prym Consumer USA, 2013 WL 1209041 (E.D.N.Y.), where Prym successfully moved to dismiss Carson’s trade dress, unfair competition, and tortious interference claims as preempted by federal design patent law.

We monitor daily alerts regarding Apple’s design patent allowances, and typically only report on significant designs.  On March 29, Yahoo reported on Apple’s new iPhone design patent with a unique wrap-around screen.  Notably, the design appears to include specific user icons within its claim.  

The shapewear design patent battle between Yummie Tummie and Spanx is also heating up. Broadway World is reporting that Yummie fired back last week by filing a countersuit in the Eastern District of New York and moving to transfer Spanx’s declaratory judgment action from Georgia. Notably, Yummie Tummie filed its complaint in the E.D.N.Y., whereas its past enforcement efforts have all taken place in the Southern District.

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