Joel E. Tragesser

Protecting the Product Blog Feed

https://www.designrightsblog.com/

Protecting the Product™ is a Quarles & Brady LLP blog that highlights issues currently affecting the design rights legal field. The blog discusses and delivers analysis on relevant court decisions and domestic and international news and developments involving design patents, trade dress, design-related trademarks and copyrights, and other developments in design-related thinking and product and brand protection.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Like the United States, China offers protection for 2D and 3D designs of products and packaging, which is often known by U.S. consumers and practitioners as “trade dress.” This four-part miniseries of posts provides a birds-eye view of protections available in China for two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) design elements of products or packaging under trademark, copyright, design patent, and anti-unfair competition laws. It focuses on the similarities and dissimilarities of different aspects of intellectual property (IP) law in China... More
  • Earlier this month, ten of the world’s largest companies were accused of infringing design patents claiming animated graphical user interfaces (GUIs). These assertions were made in addition to at least ten other lawsuits filed since September 2021 asserting animated GUI design patents. Given the breadth of the asserted design patents, these cases potentially raise issues of first impression related to claim construction, infringement, and functionality. Two plaintiffs[1] asserted the animated GUI design patents referenced above.  On March 8, 2022, Fintech Innovations... More
  • A recent Federal Circuit decision, Junker v. Med. Components, Inc., No. 2021-1649 (Feb. 10, 2022), serves as a warning to prospective filers that making pre-filing offers for sale, or engaging in discussions for future sales, can be detrimental to one’s ability to obtain both design and utility patents. In Junker, the Federal Circuit reversed a decision by the Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. district court granting summary judgement of no invalidity under the “on-sale bar” of 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) (Pre-AIA),... More
  • According to the recently-published 2021 US Design Patent Toteboard, Quarles & Brady was once again a top ten firm nationally for the most United States design patents obtained for its clients in the year 2021. This is the fourth consecutive year that the firm has appeared on this list. The Quarles & Brady design rights legal team is nationally-recognized for its extensive knowledge and practice experience in this complex and important field. For questions about this article or on how to... More
  • The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently determined that the owner of the iconic Dr. Martens trade dress—a famous design that has been used for more than three decades—was entitled to a permanent injunction against ITX USA for its use of footwear designs that are similar to the overall visual impression of the Dr. Martens trade dress. Dr. Martens footwear, frequently referred to as “Docs,” has been manufactured and marketed by AirWair International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of... More
  • Over the last 20 years, the total number of design patents issued per year in the United States has erupted. As illustrated in the graph below and further highlighted in this animated graph, in the 30 year period between the years 1971 and 2000 a total of nearly 219,000 design patents were issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). In the 20 years since the year 2000, nearly 471,000 design patents have been issued, representing an annual issue... More
  • A recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has fundamentally altered the law on prior art anticipation for design patent applications. In this decision, captioned In re: SurgiSil, L.L.P. et al., No. 2020-1940 (Oct. 4, 2021), the Federal Circuit reversed a decision by the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”), which had previously affirmed an examiner’s anticipation rejection of a design patent claim for a lip implant based on a prior art reference... More
  • In a recent decision, the Review Board of the United States Copyright Office (“Board”) reversed an examiner’s prior refusal to register a copyright in the artistic elements present in the bed shown above, paving the way for the applicant to obtain a copyright registration in this work. Copyright law does not protect useful articles per se (i.e., articles having a useful function that does not serve merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information), but does protect... More
  • On October 17, 2020, the Chinese Legislature passed the Fourth Amendment to the Chinese Patent Law, which will come into effect on June 1, 2021. As discussed in our previous post, the Fourth Amendment included several updates that help move Chinese Design Patent Law toward harmonization with the laws of most major markets.  As June 1st quickly approaches, the article below highlights and expands upon some of the major updates coming to Chinese Design Patent Law. Partial Claiming For many years, partial... More
  • This is the first article in a planned series that will analyze available design protection strategies for various categories of products. Now that the era of work-from-anywhere and software-for-any-service has fully arrived, obtaining proper legal protection for software is paramount for many companies.  However, due to an expansive interpretation by courts of the “abstract idea” exception to utility patent eligibility in recent years, protection for software-based systems and methods via utility patents has been made difficult.  Accordingly, companies in this space... More
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