Design Patent Case Digest: Victor Stanley, Inc. v. Creative Pipe, Inc.
- Tracy-Gene G. Durkin and David K.S. Cornwell
- Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox
On September 30, 2011, a ruling was issued in the Victor Stanley, Inc. v. Creative Pipe, Inc. case.
Holding: Defendants liable for design patent infringement
Opinion: Plaintiff, Victor Stanley, Inc. sued Creative Pipe, Inc. for infringement of U.S. Design Patent D523,263, entitled End Frame for a Bench. Victor Stanley sells park benches, including a number of similar benches in the Framers Modern Series. Creative Pipe made competing park bench called the Nebelli Bench and the Necati Bench. The court found Creative Pipe liable for design patent infringement and further awarded damages and attorney fees to Victor Stanley and ordered a permanent injunction against the Nebelli bench.
In order to determine whether the Nebelli and Necati park benches infringed the ‘263 patent, the Court carried out the ordinary observer test. Since the Nebelli bench appeared “substantially the same” as the ‘263 patent, the court analyzed the patented design in the context of the prior art. In particular, the Court considered prior art U.S. Design Patent D419,341, which depicts the end of a park bench and was cited during prosecution of the Victor Stanley design patent. The Court determined that the curvature of the legs, the height and roundness of the armrest, and the depth of the seat compared to the armrest were the most notable features distinguishing the Victor Stanley patent from the prior art. With these factors in mind, the court determined that an ordinary observer “would be unable to easily distinguish [the Nebelli bench design and the Victor Stanley design] in a side-by-side comparison” and therefore ruled that the Nebelli bench infringed the ‘263 patent.
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