Under U.S. patent law, a design patent must identify the true inventor of the subject design. However, it is not always abundantly clear who should be named as an inventor, and who is merely assisting an inventor. Design patents may be obtained by [w]hoever invents any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.” 35 U.S.C. § 171 (1994). While inventorship is a question of law, it is based on underlying facts. When determining inventorship, it is imperative to ask: which individual or individuals “conceived” of the claimed invention? That is, who conceived the arrangement of elements of the ornamental subject matter represented in the figures of the design patent. Safco Products Co. v. Welcom Products, Inc., 799 F. Supp. 2d 967 (2011). As there are often many people working to bring the subject matter of a design patent to fruition, this determination is not always so simple. Read on to learn how to identify an inventor, and those merely assisting.
Monday, October 19, 2015
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Perhaps we should have waited until Thanksgiving to share this case, but some things just can't wait. On Tuesday, Judge Myron Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama granted Primos' motion for summary judgment of no infringement in the case of Hunter's Edge v. Primos. The case represents strong precedent that two-dimensional design patents cannot be infringed by three-dimensional articles of manufacture. However, the case may be just as interesting for the issues that were left undecided, such as whether Hunter's Edge's design patent represents an unpatentable "design of nature." You be the judge, after the jump.