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Lanard Toys Limited v. Dolgencorp LLC and Ja-Ru (Fed. Cir. May 14, 2020)

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the granting of summary judgment in favor of Dolgencorp with regard to design patent infringement, copyright infringement, trade dress infringement and unfair competition.

Regarding the issue of design patent infringement, the Federal Circuit disagreed with Lanard's contention that the court reinstated the “point of novelty” test in its infringement analysis and stated that "we have never questioned the importance of considering the patented design and the accused design in the context of the prior art." The Federal Circuit explained that "the ordinary observer is deemed to view the differences between the patented design and the accused product in the context of the prior art. When the differences between the claimed and accused design are viewed in light of the prior art, the attention of the hypothetical ordinary observer will be drawn to those aspects of the claimed design that differ from the prior art. And when the claimed design is close to the prior art designs, small differences between the accused design and the claimed design are likely to be important to the eye of the hypothetical ordinary observer."

With regard to copyright infringement, the Federal Circuit stated that "the pertinent question is whether the copyright incorporates features that are sufficiently “separable” from the utilitarian aspects of the article to be eligible for copyright protection" and that "Lanard’s ’458 copyright is for the chalk holder itself, and Lanard’s arguments in the district court and in this appeal merely confirm that it seeks protection for the dimensions and shape of the useful article itself."

Read the case here.




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