Design patents protect the ornamental features that differentiate a product from other products, giving it value in the eyes of those in the target market.
Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds has experience in protecting designs in a number of areas, including the following:
- Software, such as graphical user interfaces
- Apparel, such as athletic wear, jewelry, and eyewear
- Pharmaceuticals, such as pill and capsule shapes
- Consumer products, such as sporting equipment, electronic viewing products, and furniture
- Automotive components, such as a front grille, a tractor hitch, and wheel rims
- Product housing, such as products in the mobile technology field and medical instrument field
- Product packaging, such as containers for items like perfumes, food and beverages, and toiletry items
We have expertise in advising companies on strategies for deciding between utility patent coverage and design patent coverage. We know how to mix and match or combine design patent rights, utility patent rights, copyrights, and trade dress to create the greatest value to your company.
Our design patent services include:
- Prosecuting U.S. and international design patents
- Developing strategies for avoiding design patent infringement or performing validity assessments
- Assisting in design-around strategies and clearance for new designs
- Providing advice on innovative integration of design rights with trade dress and other IP protection
We have obtained design patents in numerous fields. For consumer products, the designs are as diverse as electronic viewing eyewear that allows the viewing of video or electronic images in an eyeglass format and jewelry items such as clasps and ornamental pieces. In the automotive industry, we have patented accessories that allow customization of the look of a car, including fenders, grilles, headlights, rims, rain guards, and cup holders. Other examples of consumer products we have protected by design patents are a steering stabilizer for a snowmobile, an electronic power converter, a pipe-railing fitting, and a wall-mounted control panel. Our firm also has obtained design patents for features of mobile devices, such as icons, title bars, and menus.
Our litigation experience includes:
- Defended a succession of patent infringement claims in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, as well as in related arbitrations, involving molded plastic chamber technology. The controversy included a counterclaim by our client for infringement of a design patent. In each proceeding, our client either prevailed after a trial on the merits or was able to settle the proceeding on favorable terms.
- Represented a leading manufacturer in enforcing patent claims relating to novel manufacturing techniques and designs for floor coverings. The patent was found to be willfully infringed.
- Defended a start-up company in two separate actions filed in the Central District of California based on patents related to hinge and latch designs. The actions were successfully resolved with dismissal of the infringement claims with prejudice and no payments by our client to the patent owner. In addition, our client received royalty-free licenses.