Board Invalidates Design Patent

In Munchkin, Inc. and Toys “R” US, Inc. v. Luv N’ Care, Ltd., IPR 2013-00072, Paper 28 (April 28, 2014), the Board invalidated U.S. Patent No. D617,465. The Petition argued that the patent was not entitled to its priority date because of differences between the design patent drawings and the utility patent drawings from which it claimed priority, and thus an intervening reference anticipated or made obvious the claim:









The intervening prior art reference on the left is very similar to Fig. 1 of the patent. In response, the patent owner tried to revive its priority claim by amending the design patent claim (i.e., the drawings) to look more like the drawings in the utility patent priority application:



.  However, the Board determined that the amendment broadened the claim, and was thus inpermissable.  Unable to keep its priority claim, the intervening reference was very compelling, and the claim was cancelled.




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About Bryan Wheelock

Education J.D., Washington University in St. Louis B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering, Duke University Bryan Wheelock's practice includes preparation and prosecution of patent and trademark applications and drafting of intellectual property agreements, including non-compete agreements. He has brought and defended lawsuits in federal and state courts relating to intellectual property and has participated in seizures of counterfeit and infringing goods. Bryan prepares and prosecutes U.S. and foreign patent applications for medical devices, mechanical and electromechanical devices, manufacturing machinery and processes, metal alloys and other materials. He also does a substantial amount of patentability searching, trademark availability searching and patent and trademark infringement studies. In addition to his practice at Harness Dickey, Bryan is an Adjunct Professor at Washington University School of Law and Washington University School of Engineering.