Read at IPWatchdog.com | Patents & Intellectual Property Law
The number of granted design patents has tripled over the past 10 years, indicating an increasing recognition of their value. Design patents are often seen as inferior to utility patents, but IP attorney Elizabeth Ferrill and IP expert Brian Hinman argue that this perception is faulty. While damages awards are not typically sought by owners of design patents, the ability to stop competitors from using a design is the main goal. Design patents are also more affordable and quicker to issue than utility patents, and their broad scope makes the protection more durable.
The perception of design patents is that they're inferior to utility patents. The thinking goes: If a design can easily be worked around, what benefits does a design patent offer?
Ferrill and Hinman emphasize the importance of design patents in industries where aesthetics play a crucial role, such as consumer products, furniture, and fashion. They also highlight how design patents provide a universal form of protection compared to utility patents, which can be subject to endless debates over the interpretation of patent claims. The recent $500+ million win for Apple in a design patent infringement case against Samsung has also changed the perception of design patents, making them more viable and defensible in legal disputes.
Are design patents more difficult to defend? That was one of the knocks I'd heard against design patents in the past. But with the big [$500+ million] win for Apple, I think that all changed. Elizabeth Ferrill: 'One of the fallacies I find