April 29, 2016

An Illuminating Discussion About Design Patents

By Bryan K. Wheelock, Principal

Design patents protect the aesthetic appearance of a product or portion of the product.  The aesthetic appearance is affected by a number of things, including whether the product is illuminated.  However, how does one capture in the USPTO’s preferred black and white line drawings that fact that some or all of the design is illuminated?  Pretty much the way you would think.  Take, for example, U.S. Patent No. D688245 on a Contoured Mouse, which illustrates illumination with a burst of radiating dashed lines:

D688245

 

the patent explains that the “dash-dot-dash lines shown in Fig 8 represent the illumination at the finger wheel and these lines form no part of the claimed design.”  This same technique was used in U.S. Patent No. D688,664, also on a contoured mouse.

Discover Financial Service used a similar technique to illustrate an illuminated portion on their Discover Card in U.S. Patent No. D685419:

D685419

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The patent explaining that “The circle is the boundary of the illuminated portion.  The radiating lines illustrate the glow of the illumination.”  Radiating lines were also used to indicate illumination on an MR scanner in U.S. Patent No. D682,026:

D683026

 

Still other examples include: an electronic data module with illuminated region in U.S. Patent No. D670696:

D670696

 

An illuminated cup rim in U.S. Patent No. D670419:

D670419

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illumination can be claimed in a design patent, it is simply a matter of illustrating the illumination in the drawings, and describing the drawings properly.