2021 Year in Review on Design Patents: Analysis and Trends | Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox LLC


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the first jury verdict in the landmark intellectual property dispute between Apple and Samsung, which resulted in the jury awarding more than $1 billion to Apple. More than $500 million of that award went to the discovery that Samsung infringed on three of Apple’s design patents for the iPhone® smartphone. Since then, interest in design patent protection has grown steadily in all respects. As interest grows, the number of design rights filings worldwide has increased, as has the evolution of legislation, both through court rulings and the legislation.

Once considered the intellectual property option left to you if you were unable to obtain utility patent protection, more and more companies are seeking design patent protection in addition, and in some cases, instead of utility patents. And why not? They can be less expensive and take less time to obtain and challenge than utility patents. They may also be easier for a court, and especially a jury, to understand. If an infringement is found, the patent holder may be awarded the entire profit made by the infringer on the sale of the infringing article – a remedy not available for infringement of a utility patent. It’s no surprise, then, that design patents are being used more frequently to protect designs for just about anything, from breakfast pastries to running shoes.

Please see the full report below for more information.


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