Design Patent Case Digest: Kreative Power, LLC v. Monoprice, Inc.

Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C.
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Decision Date: March 3, 2015 -

Court: Northern District of California -

Patents: D653,215 -

Holding: Defendant’s motion for summary judgment GRANTED -

Opinion:

On June 26, 2014, Kreative Power, LLC sued Monoprice, Inc. for infringement of two patents and a copyright owned by Kreative. One of the patents was U.S. Design Patent No. D653,215, entitled “Surge Protector with USB Charging Port.” Both Kreative and Monoprice are in the consumer electronics industry and provide electrical power outlet and surge protector devices to their customers. Kreative alleged that Monoprice’s 6 Outlet Desktop Hub infringed the claimed design in the ’215 patent. In response, Monoprice moved for summary judgment seeking declaratory relief of noninfringement and invalidity of the ’215 patent.

Before applying the ordinary observer test for infringement or validity, the court construed the claim of the ’215 patent to exclude its functional elements, as taught in OddzOn Products, Inc. v. Just Toys, Inc., 122 F.3d 1396, 1405 (Fed. Cir. 1997). Monoprice argued that the surge protector’s conical shape, six electrical receptacles, and movable cover feature were all functional because U.S. Patent No. 7,112,097 (the other patent asserted by Kreative) and Kreative’s advertising pointed out the utilitarian aspects of these features. The court not only agreed with Monoprice, but also found the USB port and its location to be functional because there are “a limited number of possible locations on the surge protector” for a USB port that does not obstruct the receptacles. Thus, the court construed the claim to be the ornamental design for a surge protector having six recessed portions of a conical exterior surface between six electrical receptacles...

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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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