Reposted from Law A La Mode
In the United States, patent protection can be afforded to aesthetic innovation (design patents), and functional innovation (utility patents). Because binding precedent relating to design patents is relatively sparse, practitioners take note any time the Federal Circuit addresses thorny issues of design patent law. This is especially true when the patents-in-suit are directed to products that permeate our everyday lives – in a recent case, athletic uniforms worn by dogs. But the Federal Circuit’s opinion in MRC Innovations, Inc. v. Hunter MFG. LLP, 747 F.3d 1326 (Fed. Cir. 2014) does more than affirm the invalidity of patents claiming the ornamental design of canine sports jerseys. It provides much-needed guidance on obviousness standards applicable to design patents in the garment and apparel context.