Marty Schwimmer and Jordan Garner have penned an article for Law360, http://goo.gl/t7ZLlW, about the recent decision by the Federal Circuit in Apple, Inc. v. Samsung, which clarified the scope of protection available to a design under trade dress and design patent law. The CAFC found that while Apple’s user interface and industrial designs were too utilitarian for trade dress protection, they were sufficiently ornamental to convey design patent protection. According to Marty and Jordan, this case confirms the notion that design patents are cheap, effective IP solutions for companies seeking to protect a competitive edge born out of effective design, but it also cautions that the closer a design gets to representing the optimal user experience, the harder it becomes to separate form from function.
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Where does that leave the Arduin-o-phone? The Arduino has a flat and rectangular LCD, could be put in a 3D case with round edges, and has colorful icons. Could I be fooled into thinking it was an Apple product?