Patent Prosecution

Design Patents

In the right hands, design patents can be powerful weapons. We know how to wield them.

Realizing the full potential that design patents hold to assist a comprehensive brand-protection strategy requires significant depth of knowledge, and breadth of experience. Quarles & Brady’s dedicated design patent team has both.

We have helped clients secure design patents across the full breadth of industries, from consumer products with accelerated life cycles to long-lasting industrial products to the ever-evolving world of graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Coordinating with foreign partners, we secure patents in every jurisdiction worldwide. Meanwhile, at home, our design patent group holds the specialized, accumulated knowledge of an IP boutique inside a full-service firm that complements patent services with regulatory, due diligence, and other related legal services. That knowledge was recognized in the "Seventh Annual US Design Patent Toteboard", which ranks Quarles & Brady in the top ten for law firms for the number of design patents issued in 2018.

Our breadth of ability in the area is matched only by our depth. Quarles & Brady is the rare firm with the bench of talent necessary to, for instance, prepare multiple design patent applications featuring hundreds of figures, all in a matter of days--something we have done regularly for clients facing emergencies. It is the depth of our knowledge, however, and the sophistication of our strategies, that truly sets us apart. We know the risks of filing multiple embodiments (and more importantly, how to sidestep them). We know why you should limit the number of applications filed in Australia (and how best to deal with that limitation). We know how courts think about functionality in connection with design patents (and how clients can leverage that thinking to their benefit).

This deep store of knowledge, informed by experience, adds to the extensive toolbox of tactics for maximizing the protection our clients receive, and optimizing it for their particular situation. Our clients business needs dictate a matrix of choices, including which rules we leverage, in which jurisdictions, and whether we seek protection immediately or make strategic moves to delay it. This attention to our clients’ needs, in combination with our experience, has led to tremendous results--from the makeup and hair brush manufacturer that beat back copycats with our holistic strategy, to the client that has produced five different generations of one highly successful product under the protection of a single Quarles & Brady design patent.

Our full complement of design patent services include:

  • Patentability searches and opinions
  • Freedom to operate searches and opinions
  • Filing strategies: We provide deeply informed counsel on the critical questions upon which design patent protection turns, such as whether to file single or multiple applications, which aspects of the product to protect, the breadth of coverage to request, and where to file patent applications.
  • Patent prosecution: We engage frequently with the USPTO to ensure informed decisions, and coordinate with foreign associates to ensure a unified strategy across all global territories.
  • Pre-infringement analysis: We assist clients in assessing and building infringement cases, which our IP litigators handle regularly.
  • Maintenance strategies: We advise clients on the parts of their portfolio to continue devoting resources to over time.
  • Forward-looking strategies: We advise clients on an array of tactics to best position themselves to respond to future copycats.

Design patents are most effective when they are considered as one component of an all-encompassing brand-protection strategy, which also accounts for trademark, trade dress, copyright, and related issues. Quarles & Brady’s design patent team is complemented by other groups within the firm to provide the most effective protection for our clients.

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