Key Design Patent Takeaways From Fed. Circ.'s Ford Decision
By Devon Beane and Jacob Vannette (August 7, 2019, 1:32 PM EDT) -- On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit declined to fashion design patent-specific doctrines of exhaustion or repair. In Automotive Body Parts Association v. Ford Global Technologies LLC, the Federal Circuit reemphasized that the same rules apply to utility patents and to design patents unless otherwise provided by law.
Also concluding that "aesthetic appeal" is not functional, the court affirmed summary judgment in Ford''s favor. Both conclusions impact design patent practice, notably widening the gap between design patents and trade dress rights and reaffirming that design and utility patents should, when possible, receive analogous treatment....
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