Much has been written about the Apple v. Samsung patent dispute, with some claiming it goes too far and others claiming ‘transparent’ copying should justly be punished. One thing that cannot be disputed is the value of a design patent. As seen below, when consumers like the way something looks, others will migrate to that look, setting up a potentially strong case for design patent infringement, even as lawyers argue over the meaning of words in a related utility patent. Oh, and by the way, if you win, no need to settle for a reasonable royalty, as by statute, design patent infringement damages are set as profits.
Another important element that makes design patents, a beneficial, and relatively low cost patent portfolio supplement, is that copyists are by their very nature ‘lazy’, and their manufacturers, afraid of un-knowingly leaving out something that was important to the product, are often painstakingly diligent in their efforts to duplicate. As a result, a shotgun approach to securing the look of your innovations, in addition to their functionality, can often provide you with a hidden gem in your battle to secure your market position.