On December 6, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its opinion in Samsung Electronics v. Apple, 15-777, its first case in the post-industrial era on design patents and the value of product design. The Supreme Court affirmed that broad design features of a commercial product, in this case the rounded corners and display icons of a cellphone, can be patented and protected independently of the functional aspects of the product. This is a huge moment for the progress of the industrial design profession in the United States.
During this talk, Robert Bauer, an intellectual property attorney who obtained one of the few patents successfully asserted in this legendary smartphone war, will summarize the case and explain the shift in focus from utility patents, the conventional means of protecting functional products, to design patents and the advantages of design protection. Timothy Fletcher, a professor and consultant on industrial design and an expert on design patents, will explain the broad scope of products in which design considerations can be applied. The presenters will explain how design aspects can co-exist and be protected with design patents simultaneously with more traditional considerations such as functionality and trade dress. The technologies discussed will range from software and graphical user interfaces to consumer goods to industrial products.
Refreshments are provided by our sponsor, Midwest UX. Be sure to register for MWUX 17 in Cincinnati.
Robert Bauer is the founder of Bauer Law Offices. He has 25 years of experience, working first as a Patent Examiner in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and then practicing initially in Washington, DC and New York after attending law school. Most recently, he was the founding Chair of the intellectual property and technology law department at a general practice firm in Pennsylvania. In 2001, he became one of the founding editors of The SciTech Lawyer, and remained the Online Editor until 2015. He has lectured domestically and internationally, authored a report cited by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit, and testified before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Since 2010, he has been listed in Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Bauer has a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) degree from Stony Brook University and a law (J.D.) degree from the George Washington University Law School.
Tim Fletcher is an experienced expert witness in design patent and trade dress cases. With over 25 years of experience in industrial design, he has worked in corporate, consulting and academic environments in the US as well as internationally. He has been working with manufactures and clients in Asia and Europe since 1989. He holds 14 design patents and 4 utility patents in the US and Europe. He was an Assistant Professor at the School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and also teaches design topics in several schools at Carnegie Mellon University. Tim has been a member of the Industrial Designers Society of America since 1989. He has worked in several elected and appointed positions within the organization. In 2009 he was inducted into the IDSA Academy of Fellows, the highest honor bestowed by the organization.