Design patents

How should novel product designs be protected from imitation?

I think the nice thing about this project is that we show evidence that the law for assessing product design infringement should be quite different from that of assessing infringement of technological inventions.


An unexpected decision of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (CAFC) on Egyptian Goddess v. Swisa in 2008 greatly enhanced the legal protection for novel product designs, especially those with many features (i.e., product designs that are more intricate). That decision helped reduce imitations of more intricate product designs. Such strengthened legal protection has value implications, as stock markets reacted more favorably thereafter to intricate product designs compared to simpler product designs. Such positive reactions are more pronounced among firms facing fiercer product market competition and among firms previously involved in design patent litigation.

Tian Chan
Tian Chan
Associate Professor (Information Systems and Operations Management)

Scholar researching and teaching in the areas of operations and innovation management.