Design Patent Case Digest: Sofpool, LLC v. Kmart Corp.

Decision Date: August 29, 2012 Court: E.D. California -

Patents: D480,817 -

Holding: Parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment denied -

Opinion: Plaintiff Sofpool, LLC sued Defendant Kmart Corp. for infringement of U.S. Design Patent D480,817 titled Above-ground Swimming Pool. Both Sofpool and Kmart sell similar above-ground pools. Sofpool moved for summary judgment on its infringement claim and Kmart cross-moved for summary judgment on non infringement and invalidity. The court ordered Sofpool to submit a claim construction distinguishing the functional and ornamental elements of its patented design. Sofpool complied and Kmart then offered a competing claim construction.

Sofpool’s claim construction focused on the “overall effect” of certain features including an above-ground oval pool, the pool sides, the top tube section on top of the sides, and the generally U-shaped side struts.

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