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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hi everyone I’m JD Houvener your host of the Bowl today’s show were you the inventor entrepreneur or business owner gets your daily inspiration to help you make the world a better place well it’s my pleasure to be here with you were in part four of our series of recognizing armed forces and those who have a serve in the military and that have passed still thinking about Memorial Day just this past Monday and today I want to kind of inspire you to be more patriotic more about our country and think about what you can do locally here whether it’s employing locally following up with your suppliers and vendors on either side I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts about this I know lots of opinions are out there about you know how you can source how you can provide economy and boosting our local American culture and economy more with your products and in your business we’re today we’re still taking a look at this Pat and we looked at yesterday this 1920s you know mechanically moving American flag you know it’s kind of laughable now but it certainly proved to be useful and it was enough to get through the Patent Office to then I want to take another look at this and cite some cases that have been settled over the past 20 or so years that talk about design patents there’s a specific role and it’s called the limitation this is a you know concealed during normal use limitation design patents inherently cover what’s ornamental right what you can see with the naked eye about the product you know a very famous case that’s in the news and currently is the Apple iPhone versus Samsung you know galaxy ongoing litigation that’s been I think five years now in the works it’s about design patents but the case I want to talk about today actually goes back to 1980 and this is a case called the electric molding versus mob hack and this case was about an electric mixer that was trying to protect the design of their electrical housing now the electrical housing within this equipment was internal to this mixer on they had a design patent that was on this this housing and it was unique certainly but wasn’t actually visible to anyone using it right the customers that bought the mixers just see the outer plastic layer if they don’t see what’s inside of it and so the kid the Supreme Court ruled in that case that you know in order to get designed protection in order for it to be valid you have to actually have has to be onion to not be concealed during its normal use now this was backed off a little bit by another case that came forward in 1991 in ray Webb and in that case it was the Federal Circuit actually that that’s sort of broadened that out a little bit and so it’s a two-part test that if it’s ever been part then you’re able to see that part of the design in that products life cycle and if that design meets all the criteria of the Patent Office then it can still be protected or design patents and so that was enough to let a prosthetic device say actually is or for a prosthetic knee replacement and that that was on display at a trade show before actually being of course surgically implanted inside of a human knee where it can’t be seen of course right by the naked eye but because it was you know argued and successfully argued in court that that knee that that prosthetic knee hip excuse me this is the knee joint knee joint was available and was seen in the trade show that was enough because it was part of the life cycle of the product so the brunt of looseness of that doctrine has sort of become an ordained on issue for most products but it’s still out there for this specific invention you know I think it’ll be hard to argue that the the mechanics behind there are visible and the other parts to actually move the flag back and forth they’re not visible they’re not part of the normal operation of this moving flag and because of that those moving parts those cylinders that we looked at in the figures earlier they would not be protective under design patents certainly protectable under utility patent application all right well if you enjoyed that part kind of understanding really the nuances of design and utility you have further questions please follow up with us with a free 30-minute consultation you can book your own by going to bold patents calm we’re giving us a call at [Music]


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