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My boyfriend created a design for a hardshell backpack as part of his classes at university studying industrial design. He posted photos of a completed prototype on his portfolio site and received minor online press for it. Now a designer is claiming that the design infringes on his patent (No. U.S. D660,584 S). First of all the design is very different in all its features, and construction and function. Second, the design is not for sale and the physical piece doesn't even exist anymore, it broke. Do we have anything to worry about, or is this guy just jealous and trying to scare him?

posted Thursday 18 of June 2015 by Vivian [intellectual property]


If you are indeed right in your analysis of the similarities and differences, it may be best simply to play dead. This letter is most likely sent by a patent or trademark attorney that doesn't have enough work and so is trying to drum up some business. He or she is probably looking for some sort of payment, on the order of a few thousand. If you don't respond, then they will not likely do anything more. But this advice is worth the price you pay for it. If you're indeed concerned, contact a local patent and trademark attorney, explain all the facts and seek his or her advice.

Tags: design, prototype, design, infringes, patent
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Dr Patentsteins' Tips
When you think you might have an invention with sales potential, immediately discuss the idea with a registered patent practitioner
Ensure you sketch all significant elements of your invention on paper, writing as much detail and comments regarding its' operation
After creating any descriptions or sketching your invention, ensure a witness (or even two) sign the paper to support your claim

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