In our previous posts (here and here), we discussed how design patents may be used to provide intellectual property coverage for apparel, and we discussed some strategies for getting the most out of a design patent.  Here we discuss how design patent protection can be extended across multiple product lines by obtaining design patents to the ornamental design of fabric.

Many designers may create fabric designs and patterns that can be used across multiple product lines, such as clothing, shoes, and bedding.  By relying on the same patterns and designs across different product lines, brand association may be strengthened.  One company that is well known for its unique fabric patterns is the Italian fashion house Missoni.  Missoni obtained a design patent (USD 647,706) to one of its iconic fabric patterns, pictured below.  As followers of high fashion will recognize, this pattern shows up in many of Missoni’s designs—dresses, shoes, pillows, and even bathing suits.  By protecting the design of the fabric itself, patent coverage may extend across multiple areas of use, thus extending the value of a patent.




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