USPTO And Courts Must Clarify Design-Utility Boundary

Law360, New York (January 26, 2015, 10:30 AM EST) -- Design patents are increasingly noticed by businesses and their lawyers. In the wake of Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and other notable cases,[1] businesses realized that design patents can offer protection as economically robust as that offered by utility patents. Given the relative ease of obtaining design patents and the awards for damages they can produce, it is not surprising that the past several years have seen a significant rise in the filing of applications for design patents. In the five-year period from 2009 to 2013, annual filings of design applications grew by about 40 percent, significantly outpacing the...

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