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Your Hotel Desk Chair May Be Patented

On February 13, 2013, Global Allies, LLC brought an infringement action against Charter Furniture Corp. for infringement of U.S. Design Patent No. D622,987. Case No. C-13-0651 (JCS) (N.D. Cal.). A figure from the '897 patent is shown below.

The '897 patent is a reminder that even seemingly utilitarian items, such as "task chairs," can potentially be subject to design patent protection. However, the utilitarian nature of any design might limit the scope of the design patent or, in a worse case scenario for the patentee, render the patent invalid. The innovative designer will work with patent counsel to determine what components can and should be patented. In the mean time, you may want to check if your hotel desk chair is patented!

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About this Author

Jacob S Wharton, Womble Carlyle, Intellectual Property Attorney, Home Furnishings industry Lawyer

Jake devotes his practice primarily to intellectual property dispute resolution, including patent, trademark, and copyright infringement litigation; proceedings before the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board; trade secret misappropriation litigation; antitrust matters; and related intellectual property disputes. Jake has also counseled clients on defamation and trade libel matters. Prior to focusing on dispute resolution, Jake prepared and prosecuted patent applications in the pharmaceutical, agriculture, biotechnology, and life science technologies. Jake has counseled institutional,...