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Federal Circuit Rejects Patenting Designs “in the Abstract” #oshw

Adafruit 2019 2544

Remember back in Jan of 2019 when there was that “Design Patent Clarity in the Amicus Brief” post on OSHWA? Well! The Federal Circuit Rejected Patenting Designs “in the Abstract”. This is good news, patents should be read to cover what they say they cover, it’s hard to avoid infringing if it’s not clear what a patent covers or does not cover. The wrong decision in this case would have opened the door to all sorts of shenanigans and made it even harder to understand what a design patent actually protects –

The district court dismissed Curver’s design patent infringement lawsuit for failure-to-state-a-claim. Asserted U.S. Design Patent D677,946 is titled “Pattern for a Chair”
and claims an “ornamental design for a pattern for a chair, as shown and described.”

Read more, a chair is not a basket.


Previous

OSHWA has just filed an amicus brief in a case regarding design patents. OSHWA urged the court to uphold a rule that a design patent covers only what the patent itself says it covers. This rule allows everyone to understand what is and is not protected by a design patent. A clear understanding of the scope of design patent protection is particularly important for open source hardware creators who share their design files for use and modification by others because they need to know when a patent would – and would not – apply to their design.

Thanks Samuelson Law, Technology, & Public Policy Clinic at Berkeley Law for doing this!


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