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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hi everyone, I’m J.D. Houvener, your host of the Bold Today Show, where you, the inventor, entrepreneur, or business owner, get your daily dose of inspiration to make the world a better place.

Alright, we’re here again in the maker space, and behind me is a roll of carbon fiber material that they actually use for huge layouts, hand laying up each layer. Pretty fascinating stuff.

I want to celebrate today; it is actually National Law Day. If you didn’t know that, go look it up. It’s National Law Day. And hey, we’re patent attorneys, so we know the law, and we really appreciate that. Back in 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower designated the first day of May as the national observance for recognizing the law, the lawmakers, those that carve out the law, and even those that enforce the law. So, as part of Law Day, what we celebrate as patent attorneys is the original formation of the Articles of Constitution. In Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, it says, “To promote the useful progress of science and useful arts, give to the inventors and their discoveries a limited monopoly.” That’s huge. It goes right back to the Constitution and the founding fathers, so we have them to thank on this Law Day.

On this session of Bold Today’s Show, we’re looking again at design patents. We’re in the part two of a five-part series. Yesterday, we looked at windshield wipers, and today, we’re going to look at rain boots. Okay, we’re still talking about rainy weather. We’re in spring, believe it or not. I bet anywhere in the country there’s got to be a couple of raindrops, and so people are putting their rain boots on. Check out this patent just issued this year on a clear rain boot. The design patent is not just on the clear boot, but the fact that it has an insertable boot that goes inside of it. It’s kind of a cool idea, so you can have different colors depending on what you want to wear. I guess this is for females, but hey, guys could do it too, right? Interesting, take a look at the figure. If you wanted to wear a blue boot today, you simply put your blue liner in and put that into the clear boot. Pretty cool.

One thing I wanted to point out about this is that the design patent doesn’t actually cover the insertion piece; it’s all blacked out. It covers just the actual outer appearance. It’s based on the law and the precedent from Reed Corp versus Patent. What this case said is that as long as you have at least some portion of the invention that is non-functional, it can be protected under design patent. Remember that utility patents are the domain of functionality, and that’s what gives them their rights. Alright, what does it do? That’s utility patents. Design only protects the way something looks, so if the invention solely has a functional aspect, you’re not going to get a design patent on it. Something that has and carries with it a tangible, real-life, three-dimensional shape, you’re going to be able to get some part of a design patent. That’s what that Reed Corp case was all about.

So, if you’ve got a boot or a new invention about how to stay dry, I want to hear about it in your comments below. Please share this video with someone who might be interested in patent law and hearing more about how to move forward with their invention, whether it be a design patent or utility. I’m J.D. Houvener, your host of the Bold Today’s Show. Go big, go bold.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at