When the new fifteen-year design patent term takes effect?

In a recent blog post I said that May 13, 2015 will be a big day, and one of the reasons it will be a big day is that design patents granted from applications filed on or after that day will enjoy a fifteen-year term.  This is a longer term than the fourteen years with which we are familiar.

In response, alert reader and patent practitioner Karen Oster asked about the many web articles that say that the effective date for the fifteen-year patent term was fourteen months ago on December 18, 2013.  Among them are:

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US makes more progress toward the Hague Agreement

The Hague Agreement is the international filing system for design protection that corresponds to the PCT filing system for international utility patent protection and the Madrid filing system for international trademark protection.  The progress of the United States toward membership and participation in the Hague Agreement has been slow and at times tortuous.  As I blogged here, President Clinton signed the treaty in 1999.  Many years passed before the Senate ratified it in 2007.  Congress needed to pass enabling legislation which finally happened in 2012.  Next the USPTO needed to promulgate proposed Rules, which it did in 2013.  The next important step was for the United States to deposit an “instrument of accession” to the Agreement with WIPO.

Interestingly somehow the United States and Japan managed to coordinate their efforts, and the two countries deposited their instruments of accession on the same day, Friday, February 13, 2015.  You can see WIPO’s press release hereus-inst-accAnd at right is a photograph (courtesy of WIPO) showing the historic event.  You can see US Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto handing the Instrument of Accession to WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

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Results are in — the 2014 US Design Patent Toteboard

Yes, the results are in.  The Ant-Like Persistence blog is delighted to be able to present the 2014 US Design Patent Toteboard.  This toteboard lists the forty-three highest ranked firms according to the number of US design patents which they obtained for clients.  One corporation also chose to respond and is listed in the toteboard.  These filers between them obtained about 24% of all of the US design patents in 2014.

You can also see corresponding toteboards for 2013 and 2012.

Glass ¾ full — many firms have handed in their design patent numbers

Here are some of the firms which by now have sent in their US design patent numbers at this questionnaire.

  • Pearne & Gordon LLP
  • Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
  • Sughrue Mion, PLLC
  • Design IP
  • QuickPatents
  • G. White Patents
  • Babcock IP, PLLC
  • Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lowe, P.C.
  • Banner & Witcoff
  • Jacobson Holman PLLC
  • Knobbe Martens
  • Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg
  • Michael J Brown Law Office
  • RatnerPrestia
  • Brown & Michaels
  • Leason Ellis LLC
  • Saidman DesignLaw Group
  • McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd.
  • Leydig, Voit & Mayer
  • Westerman, Hattori, Daniels & Adrian, LLP
  • Andrus Intellectual Property Law, LLP
  • Rader Fishman & Grauer PLLC
  • Harness Dickey
  • Crowell & Morning LLP
  • Osha Liang LLP
  • Cantor Colburn LLP

These firms between them obtained about one-sixth of all of the US design patents that were granted in 2014.

Firms missing from the design patent toteboard

We now have responses from more than two dozen law firms which between them have obtained about one-seventh of all of the US design patents that were granted in 2014.  Conspicuous by their absence, however, are a few well-known firms that did quite a lot of US design patent work in 2014, including the following:

  • Cantor Colburn
  • Foley & Lardner
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Birch Stewart
  • Sterne Kessler
  • Kilpatrick
  • Nixon Vanderhye
  • Finnegan Henderson
  • Christensen O’Connor
  • Ladas & Parry
  • Wolf Greenfield
  • Oblon Spivak
  • Sheridan Ross

If you know someone at one of these firms, you might drop them a note and let them know they have six days left to respond with their information.  The toteboard will close on January 31 and the rankings will be posted in early February.

Free live audio program on design patent enforcement issues

cariniDesign patents are suddenly important — everybody gets that by now.  There are a handful of practitioners who were active in the design patent area long before design patents became fashionable, and Chris Carani is one of that handful.  This next Wednesday Chris will host a free of charge live audio program that you can and should attend if your schedule permits.

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