Intellectual Property Owners Association

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IP Chat Channel – Design Patents

Webinars are listed in chronological order with the most recent at the top of the page.
In order to view past webinars click on the register button below.  Then click on “View Event Recordings” in the upper right hand corner.  All recordings are in chronological order, and can be searched by title using the find feature in your browser.

Please contact meetings@ipo.org if you have difficulty finding a recording.

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Design Protection After Star Athletica: Way Beyond Fashion

Webinar Date: 04/13/2017

Don’t be distracted by the sports metaphors and the fashion industry commentary. Last month’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands found that decorative elements of cheerleader uniforms were potentially protected by copyright law. That decision opens a new avenue for protection of industrial designs as well, an area which itself has earned a higher profile within IP law recently because of the ongoing fight in Apple v. Samsung. That smartphone case involves design patents, of course, but experts say that the Star Athletica should spur new consideration of how copyright and design patents, as well as trade dress and utility patents, can or can’t work together. Increased use of copyrights to protect industrial design makes new litigation on this issue more likely.

Our panel includes an in-house counsel at a technology company and two law firm lawyers, one specializing in design patents and the other in copyright. They will discuss such questions as:

  • How does Star Athletica change the scope of copyright protection for designs? When is copyright protection for useful objects now appropriate?
  • What are the differences among the different modes of protection, including “novelty and non-obviousness” for design patents, “originality” for copyrights, and “acquired distinctiveness” for trade dress?
  • What are the open questions left by Star Athletica that are likely to be litigated in the future?

Speakers:

  • Terry Carroll, IBM Corp.
  • Robert Katz, Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.
  • Katherine Spelman, Lane Powell PC



Design Patents: Future of Damages After Apple v. Samsung

Webinar Date: 01/12/2017

In its recent opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court answered this question posed by Samsung: “Where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, should an award of infringer’s profits be limited to those profits attributable to the component?” The reply of the unanimous court, in an opinion written by Judge Sotomayor: “The term ‘article of manufacture’ is broad enough to embrace both a product sold to a consumer and a component of that product, whether sold separately or not.” That answer rejects the Federal Circuit’s longstanding interpretation of Section 289.

However, experts say the Supreme Court’s opinion raises many more questions. The Federal Circuit must now create a test that will allow a jury to determine whether the “article of manufacture” covered by a design patent is the entire product or a component, and what that component is. For now, it is not clear whether the patent owner or the defendant bears the burden of proof. Then, it will be up to a judge to apportion to the component some part of the infringer’s entire profits on the product. Our panel — a design patent litigator, a damages expert, and a law professor specializing in patent damages — will discuss how the law of design patent damages might evolve, and see what the options might mean applied to cases currently being litigated, such as Apple v. Samsung and Nordock v. Systems.

Speakers:

  • Prof. Thomas Cotter, University of Minnesota Law School
  • Dawn Hall, FTI Consulting
  • Richard Stockton, Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.



Design Patents: International Filing Strategies

Webinar Date: 11/15/2016

More companies these days feel the need for design patent protection in several countries outside the U.S. But complications are plentiful, pitfalls are many, and international harmonization efforts may offer false security. Our panel includes an in-house counsel with experience managing design patent prosecution in more than 15 countries plus the European Community, and two international design patent prosecution veterans. They will examine a number of issues that should be addressed in preparing an effective international filing strategy, including:

  • The significance of the “absolute novelty” standard in nations including China. No grace period means that any disclosure by the inventor or designer anywhere in the world, including in consumer testing and trade shows, is considered prior art before filing;
  • Differences in rules regarding partial designs, where only a particular feature is claimed;
  • Limits in enforceability, such as the “must fit, must match” and “hidden in use” exclusions;
  • Balancing cost and coverage.

Speakers:

  • John Cheek, Caterpillar, Inc.
  • Elizabeth Ferrill, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Robert Katz, Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.



After Brexit: European Patents and Design Rights

Webinar Date: 07/14/2016

Last month’s vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union raises many uncertainties for owners of intellectual property in Europe. These two webinars will help owners of patents and trademarks to understand these uncertainties, to recognize their options, and to take needed steps. Patent owners, for instance, need to be clear on the independence of the European Patent Office from the EU and will want to understand the dynamics that will determine whether the long-gestating United Patent Court ever comes to life. Trademark owners doing business in the U.K. will want to start thinking about how to protect assets after European Community Designs (ECDs) and European Union Trademarks (EUTMs) no longer are valid there. Each of our panels includes an in-house attorney at a U.S. multinational and two law firm attorneys, one based in Munich and one in London.

Speakers:

Paul Coletti, Johnson & Johnson
John Conroy, Fish & Richardson
Rowan Freeland, Simmons & Simmons




European Trademarks, Designs and IP Transactions

Webinar Date: 07/13/2016

Last month’s vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union raises many uncertainties for owners of intellectual property in Europe. This webinar will help owners of trademarks to understand these uncertainties, to recognize their options, and to take needed steps. Trademark owners doing business in the U.K. will want to start thinking about how to protect assets after European Community Designs (ECDs) and European Union Trademarks (EUTMs) no longer are valid there. They also will want to review IP agreements for clauses defining territorial scope and draft future agreements with an eye to new possibilities, such as other countries leaving the EU. The panel includes an in-house attorney at a U.S. multinational and two law firm attorneys, one based in Munich and one in London.

Speakers:

Jonathan Day, Carpmaels & Ransford
Jake Feldman, Johnson & Johnson
Jan Zecher, Fish & Richardson




Design Patent Damages: The Law As It Is Today

Webinar Date: 01/28/2016

When the Federal Circuit last summer rejected a request for a rehearing en banc from Samsung on the damages awarded to Apple for infringement of three of its design patents, it reaffirmed what experts in design patents already knew: With design patents, the infringer’s damages are its entire profits from the article of manufacture. That formula stemmed from design patents’ has historically been used as a weapon in the fight against counterfeits and knock-offs. But the ruling in Apple v. Samsung, based on a straightforward reading of Section 289 of the Patent Act, was an eye opener even for many patent law veterans outside the design space. The Federal Circuit reiterated its stance again in September in Nordock v. Systems, when it remanded a patent design case because the lower court’s damages calculation shortchanged the plaintiff.

Our panel brings together two design-patent veterans with a damages expert to discuss the implications on design patent prosecution and litigation of the increased consciousness regarding design patent damages. Is this just a blip or will it lead to an increase in design patent litigation and prosecution, as some experts predict? How will courts define “the article of manufacture”? What are the limitations of design patent enforcement despite the possibility of 289 damages? The panelists will also consider Samsung’s certiorari petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Speakers:

Alan Cox, NERA Economic Consulting
Robert Katz, Banner & Witcoff
Damian Porcari, Ford Global Technologies LLC




3-D Printing Advanced Topics for Patent Lawyers: Repair, Reconstruction, Exhaustion, Inducement

Webinar Date: 08/27/2015

Lawyers who want to give good advice regarding the disruptive technology of 3-D printing need to refresh their understanding of many areas of case law and rethink how it all fits together. For instance, companies with more than one business model – eg, those who both sell repair parts for machines they manufacture and also want to repair machines bought from others – may be subject to competing imperatives.

Our panel includes an IP lawyer at a major multinational manufacturer, a design patent specialist, and a patent litigator. Through the lens of 3-D printing, they will reconsider case law and current litigation involving repair, reconstruction, and exhaustion, including the pending en banc Federal Circuit Lexmark case; the pending Federal Circuit case on whether the International Trade Commission has jurisdiction over imports of digital files; and the issues of inducing and contributory infringement.

 

John Cheek, Caterpillar Inc.
Elizabeth Ferrill, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Bryan Vogel, Robins Kaplan LLP




International Patent Filing: Best Practices

Webinar Date: 06/25/2015

It’s a big world out there for valuable inventions that could benefit from patent protection. This webinar will provide expert guidance on where to file foreign patent applications and how. Topics include:

  • Factors to consider when deciding whether to file international patents;
  • Comparisons between PCT, EPO and direct filing options;
  • How to reduce costs;
  • Hidden landmines, including the requirement of foreign filing waivers when inventors reside in certain countries; and
  • What’s new, including use of the Hague Agreement for design patents; will Austria become the “Delaware” of the Unitary Patent in Europe?

Speakers:

Philip Cupitt, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Michael Gnibus, General Electric Co.
Robert Siminski, Harness, Dickey & Pierce, P.L.C.




Safeguarding GUIs: Best Practices Using Multiple Layers of IP, including Design Patents, Utility Patents, Copyright and Trade Dress

Webinar Date: 04/29/2015

Protecting the IP of Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) is tricky – and crucial. Successful GUI is key to strategy at many corporations these days, as more manufactured products offer sophisticated digital features and connectivity through the Internet of Things. Our panelists — an attorney expert in design patents, an in-house lawyer who works to protect the inventions of an “experience design” team, and a software IP specialist — will discuss how best to protect GUIs using multiple layers of IP.

Design patents are certainly important, and have come to the fore recently because of Apple’s success in enforcing a GUI design patent against Samsung. But some sophisticated companies have actually backed off from filing design patents on GUI, concerned about how crowded the field is with prior art and how the quick pace of design changes during product development and even after launch make it necessary to file multiple applications to have any hope of a patent strong enough to enforce.

Utility patents protecting the functionality of GUI are facing their own challenges. A number of these patents have been invalidated in post-grant proceedings based on prior art. New patent applications face a higher hurdle because of Alice. Some experts wonder if copyright protection could fill the gap. Trade dress claims can be preempted by a registered copyright, but alone they may well be effective in protecting a GUI from copycats — if the GUI is already well-known and is associated by consumers with its particular source.

Speakers:

Michael Hsu, Adobe Systems Inc.
Robert Katz, Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.
Robert Lord, Osha Liang, LLP