Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Truly Odd Concept of Design Patents, Which the US Supreme Court Might Crush Very Soon

There are even patents on rounded corners!

UK power socket

Samsung Galaxy S2

Summary: The epidemic of shallow patents, which has already resulted in patents on mere designs, be soon end; but not before an unprecedented gold rush for such patents

EARLIER this year and last year we wrote many articles about the bizarre concept of a design patent; one ought to expect copyrights -- not patents -- to cover designs. In Europe there's something in-between.

Did design "innovation" grow sixfold in 20 years? No. Well, but the number of design patents grew sixfold in just a couple of decades, based on the latest figures. It's a patent bubble or a gold rush at the USPTO. What's more, as we wrote earlier this month, the Supreme Court might soon serve a blow that can invalidate them all.

"How long before sculpting becomes some sort of a crime? Or 3-D printing?"There are comments above like: "What is the technical degree necessary for the ornamental arts?"

How long before sculpting becomes some sort of a crime? Or 3-D printing? Might it be any worse than software patents, where the mere act of coding (one's own original program) can become an invitation to lawsuits? Where does this end? How about patents "On Tacos" (or taco plates) as Patently-O put it the other day? To quote: "Design patents aren’t supposed to protect “functional” aspects of a design. But in design patent law, as explained by Prof. Sarah Burstein (@design_law on Twitter), “functional” means “the only configuration that is fit for a particular purpose.” If there’s another way of doing it, then it isn’t functional. And there are plenty of alternative configurations for plates that hold tacos upright."


"When will we see patents on paintings?"More design patents were mentioned in the media a couple of days ago, so certainly it's becoming a 'thing'.

When will we see patents on paintings? Not yet?

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