• Remedies for Design Patent Infringement
  • March 9, 2017
  • Law Firm: Law Offices of Roland Tong - Irvine Office
  • The U.S. Patent system allows inventors to obtain different types of patents. Among them are design patents and utility patents. Design patents protect "articles of manufacture" and protect the ornamentally of an invention, whereas utility patents protect the functionality of innovative processes, machines, compositions of matter, and other types of manufactures. The requirements for obtaining each patent vary slightly, but once obtained, design patents and utility patents generally receive the same type of protection from infringement.

    One notable difference, however, is that design patents qualify for full recovery of the infringer's profits, and a minimum of $250. 35 U.S.C. § 289. There is no equivalent statute for utility patents, meaning that holders of utility patents typically receive damages under Section 284 (which allows for recovery to compensate for infringement, but not less than a reasonable royalty). Notably, the recovery of infringer's profits under Section 289 are not the sole remedy for a holder of a design patent (e.g., they can still seek attorney fees under Section 285), but a court will not allow for a double recovery from the infringer.