Christopher Carani is one of the leading design patent practitioners in the US. His recent ManagingIP article highlights the design patent elements of Apple v. Samsung and other famous design patent cases in order to tease out some methodology for knowing which design patents are likely to be infringed. The four-page article offers a concise design patent infringement primer.
Indeed, even if well-versed in design patent jurisprudence, one of the most difficult questions an intellectual property practitioner can be asked is whether a given product infringes a design patent. Like it or not, there is an inherent subjective component to the design patent infringement analysis that is often unnerving to seasoned pros and novices alike.
One of the few guiding lights to aid practitioners through these murky waters is a firm grasp of the patented and accused designs implicated in, and the holdings of, past decisions. It is only through this type of empirical study and ocular inspection that one can get a feel for the central question of "how close is too close" for design patent infringement. To that end, set forth below is a visual comparison of exemplary cases where there were findings of infringement, and in others non-infringement.
I've posted the article (with permission) here: Download Carani.apple .