To An industrial manufacturing process and the product resulting from the industrial manufacturing process may be patentable to the extent the process and/or the product are new solutions to problems and the solutions would not have been obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art or technology to which the invention is associated. The products may have both functional and non-functional features. If one or more of the non-functional features were selected for their appearance, i.e., for the ornamental appeal that they may have to a consumer, then the ornamental appearance of the article of manufacture may be addressed by considering a design patent application. One or more design patent applications may be pursued by an inventor and these may be filed concurrently with the regular (utility) patent application addressing the functional aspects of the article of manufacture.
Design patents may also be filed concurrently with applications for copyright registration and may be considered as strategic bulwarks as one attempts to pursue trade dress distinctiveness in a particular line of products.
Design patent infringement has been recently affected by recent rulings of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the client is encouraged to contact our office for more information.