“Confusingly similar…” It’s a phrase you might mutter to yourself after trying to unlock another person’s car that looks identical to yours in a parking lot (guilty!), but in the world of intellectual property, it constitutes a legal standard to determine trademark infringement.
It is a well-appreciated fact that protecting apparel intellectual property is a challenge, and many clothing designers and manufacturers are all too familiar with seeing knock-offs of their designs. While there is no magic bullet for protecting apparel designs, a multi-pronged approach that includes trademark, copyright, and patent protection may provide clothing designers with an arsenal of tools with which to protect their designs. One such avenue of apparel design protection is a design patent. Design patents protect the way an article looks, and thus include the visual ornamental characteristics of an article of manufacture. Design patents may be used to secure protection for a variety of ornamental designs, including stitching, fabric patterns, silhouettes, and more.
Wearable devices for monitoring health, wellness, and fitness comprise a rapidly growing industry that many outdoors and athletic companies are capitalizing on. For example, a quick look at the USPTO patent database shows that nearly 5500 utility patents mentioning the term wearable device have issued since the beginning of 2016.