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Design Patents

Updated on November 30, 2012
Apple owns both utility patents and design patents covering features of its popular iPhone.
Apple owns both utility patents and design patents covering features of its popular iPhone. | Source

Three of the six Apple patents violated by Samsung are design patents rather than the more common utility patents. Design patents protect “any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture”. The ornamental design can be embodied in, or applied to, the article of manufacture. Design patents protect only the ornamental appearance of an invention, rather than its utility.

Most people are not familiar with this form of intellectual property. What are some examples of designs that can be protected by design patents?

The Three Apple Design Patents Violated by Samsung

Samsung violated three Apple design patents covering features of the iPhone:

The design protected by the D'087 patent.
The design protected by the D'087 patent. | Source

D593,087: “Electronic Device”

The D’087 design patent covers the ornamental shape of the iPhone. Apple claimed: "The ornamental design of an electronic device, substantially as shown and described."

The jury found 3 models of Samsung's phones violated this design patent.

The design protected by the D'677 patent.
The design protected by the D'677 patent. | Source

D618,677: “Electronic Device”

The D’677 design patent covers the ornamental shape and color of the black iPhone. Apple claimed: "The ornamental design of an electronic device, as shown and described."

The jury found 12 models of Samsung's phones violated this design patent.

The design protected by the D'305 patent.
The design protected by the D'305 patent. | Source

D604,305: “Graphical User Interface for a Display Screen or Portion Thereof”

The D’305 design patent covers the rounded square icons of the iPhone’s home screen. Apple claimed: "The ornamental design for a graphical user interface for a display screen or portion thereof, as shown and described."

The jury found that 13 models of Samsung's phones used phone icons which copied the design and shape of Apple's rounded square phone icons.





Other Visual Examples of Design Patents

Design patents covering ornamental designs apply to many types of products:

The design protected by the D'220 patent.
The design protected by the D'220 patent. | Source

Vehicles

D385,220: “Automobile Body”. This design patent covers the ornamental automobile body of the Volkswagon Beetle automobile.



The design protected by the D'188 patent.
The design protected by the D'188 patent. | Source

Clothing

D544,188: “Portion of an Article of Footwear”. The ‘188 design patent covers the ornamental design of a portion of an Ugg boot.












The design protected by the D'372 patent.
The design protected by the D'372 patent. | Source

Terminal User Interfaces

D599,372: “Graphical User Interface for a Display Screen of a Communications Terminal”. This design patent covers the home page for Google.








The design protected by the D'818 patent.
The design protected by the D'818 patent. | Source

Eyeglasses

D556,818: “Eyeglass Components”.







The design protected by the D'657 patent.
The design protected by the D'657 patent. | Source

Thermometer

D176,657: “Control Instrument”. Honeywell's rotary thermometer.









The design protected by the D'272 patent.
The design protected by the D'272 patent. | Source

Furniture

D155,272: “Chair”.

The design protected by the D'160 patent.
The design protected by the D'160 patent. | Source

Food

D48,160: “Bottle or Similar Article”. Coca Cola’s classic “Contour” bottle.























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    • aykianink profile image

      aykianink 4 years ago

      I heard some things about the phone companies fighting over patents, but didn't have details. Thanks, Tips.

    • againsttheodds profile image

      againsttheodds 5 years ago

      Very good examples. Never knew Google homepage was patented. I'll have to look into that one. Seems crazy to be able to patent a textbox so I'm sure there are more details.