Design Patent Case Digest: W.Y. Industries, Inc. v. Kari-Out Club LLC

Decision Date: August 25, 2011 Court: D. NJ -

Patents: D469,689 -

Holding: The terms of the ‘689 Patent are construed -

Opinion: Plaintiff W.Y. Industries, Inc. sued Kari-Out Club LLC for infringement of U.S. Design Patent D469,689, entitled Rectangular Stackable Container. W.Y. Industries sells rectangular plastic food containers. Kari-Out makes competing food containers. The Court adopted W.Y. Industries’ verbal claim construction and denied Kari-Out’s request to include additional language, which described the functional features of the patented design.

W.Y Industries’ design patent claims the “ornamental design of a rectangular stackable container as shown and described” in the drawings of the patent. According to the Court, construing a design claim as that which is shown in the patent drawings is typical of design patents since, in most cases, drawings better depict a design than a written description. However, when the drawings contain functional features, an enhanced verbal claim construction may help to clarify exactly which features are claimed and which are not. In this case, the parties agreed that certain elements of the patented design are functional. Therefore, the court concluded that a detailed verbal claim construction will be helpful to the jury.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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