The Institute appreciates the thanks it has received from academics and others, for continuing to keep this web site available for use. It is a unique resource that contains the history of several key intellectual property laws and treaties.

It started as a result of Professor Fryer, University of Baltimore School of Law, being appointed as chair of the American Bar Association (ABA), Intellectual Property Industrial Design Committee. He guided the work of that Committee for several years, and he represented the ABA at most of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO UN) meetings that developed the Geneva Act (1999) of the International Protection of Industrial Designs. His documents and other materials are part of this online collection.

Another design protection historical development on this website is the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act, a Copyright Office administered law. Professor Fryer received recognition for his assistance.

The present documents and other documents related to the design protection will be kept on this website, for the use of persons interested in this history (subject to technical, financial limitations, and the approval of William T. Fryer III).

Examples of important documents displayed on this website have been discussed above. The service of providing access to all these documents is a continuing process.



NEW Fryer Institute Newsletter, No. 10

The establishment of id5, five years ago, has created a lot of positive action. It improved efficient gathering of WIPO design registration data for the Geneva Act. The very good reaction to id5 was very evident at the last annual meeting. I attended the meeting online, as one of several persons representing the American Bar Association, IP Section, Designs Rights Committee.

The five largest design registration offices using the Geneva Act (China, Japan, European IP Office, South Korea, and U.S.) have organized this centralized data center in South Korea with the help of WIPO, and held an annual two day meeting to provide communications with users of the Geneva Act.

The 2022 annual meeting was on the Internet, the first day only with WIPO and id5 staff, and the last day was for Geneva Act users to make reports and have discussions.

Preparation for the meeting was extensive for the U.S. attendees. They communicated to address common interests working to improve the system operation. This id5 type format has been used by WIPO in the past formation of other treaty operation offices.

User Representatives of each member country gave reports, and there were brief discussions. As a first time participant in the id5 meeting, I was very impressed with the discussions and documents submitted.

What I witnessed was an amazing sharing of helpful support. Other sources have demonstrated that the communication occurring from these meetings is making things happen. This fact, of effective international communications, suggests to me that the method can be used in another intellectual property challenge, the harmonization of industrial design laws, as discussed briefly below.

The id5 website is: can be found with by searching "id5 industrial design". The second search will locate the official website and independent info.


It does appear to be the right time to turn up the energy and work harder to achieve more international property law and procedures harmonization. Successes in the U.S. and EU IP Office region, the Geneva Act and id5, for example, are good signs that changes can be made.

It is a big job, just to get started, but the skill and accomplishments of WIPO are in good shape for the task.

A few suggestions will be made here:

First, there has to be a centralized planning group, in the middle of IP activities. For me, the choice is obvious, it's an outgrowth of WIPO, with a representative group from business, education, and public interest groups who are good at planning this kind of project.

Second, it may start with small steps, like a coordination group of academic or professional conferences, to get comfortable with our visions.

Third, it should fit in and not interfere with the constant effort to harmonize going on at WIPO. We know how some issues can be difficult to get final approval, so in the beginning the pace should be slow. It should be capable of creating public interest.

William T. Fryer, III

NOVEMBER 18, 2012

 (See below SPECIAL NOTICE of August 14, 2012, on the Hague Agreement Design Treaty for more background)


 U. S. membership in the Hague Agreement to provide simplified global design patent filing  received a strong push forward from the U. S. Senate, when it quickly  passed S. 3486 (112th Cong. 2d Sess.) on September 23, 2012,  after it was filed on August 2, 2012.  This bill makes a few patent law changes necessary for the U. S to become a Hague Agreement member.  The leadership on both sides of the Senate floor spoke strongly for the bill at its introduction, recognizing treaty membership was needed to grow the U. S. economy (See Congressional Record Senate, S5980, August 2, 2012).  The Senate had already recommended ratification of the treaty after a hearing before its Committee Foreign Relations (Treaty No. 109-21 (see web site, treaty 109-21, 109th Cong., 2005-2006).

The U. S. House of Representatives now has H.R.6432 (112th Cong., 2d Sess.), with the same text as the Senate passed bill.  The Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and Internet is working on the bill.  It is a good sign for passage that the House bill has several cosponsors.


Enactment of this bill in 2012 is needed  to continue the momentum for U. S. Hague Agreement membership in 2013.   Several additional steps must be completed for the U. S.  to become a member, and approval of the patent law change is a  key step for the regulations preparation and other work to start with full intensity..

Information has been received that the House Judiciary Committee requested the House leadership to expedited action on the bill, sending the bill directly to the House floor for a vote.  Another good sign is that information has been received  the U. S. PTO has formed a team in its  Patent Operation organization to guide the implementation of the Hague Agreement.  Team is headed by Charlie Pearson, Director of the Office of PCT Legal Administration.


Interested persons can express their views on the need for prompt action on this legislation by contacting their local member of the House of Representatives.  Resources on the treaty can be found on this web site's Hague Agreement Information Center.  Click this link to reach the Center.  Contact information for House members and Committees can be found on the House web site at URL. .

Of particular importance is to contact Representative Goodlattle, chairman of the House Judiciary Committe, Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and Internet, whose telephone number is 202-225-5741.   Senate and House bills can be found on the Library of Congress Thomas web site at URL: .



AUGUST 14, 2012

 On August 2, 2012, U. S. Senate Democratic and Republican leadership filed a bill in the U. S. Senate, S. 3486 (112th Cong., 2d Sess.), moving the U. S. closer to becoming a member of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (Hague Agreement).  The legislation can be viewed by going to the Library of Congress web site at URL, entering the bill ID, S. 3486, and changing the search to "Bill Number."

 A lot of people have contributed to bringing U. S. membership in the Hague Agreement close to completion,  including the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) leadership and staff at the treaty preparatory meetings and diplomatic conference.  Congressional leadership and staff worked on successful  ratification of the treaty and preparing the current bill for consideration.  It is not easy to organize the steps needed to implement U. S. treaty membership, a wise precaution, usually.  Also, there were many administrative priorities that had to be determined.    It is time to look forward to completing U. S. Hague membership,  now that it is on track to be finished.

So far there are several indications that Congress and the administration recognize that Hague Agreement membership is a significant economic opportunity for U. S. business.  The treaty will allow more coordinated filing for intellectual property product design protection, at lower cost, and it will be easier for small and medium size businesses to utilize design protection systems around the world.  A global design protection filing approach is one of the best ways to stop product design knock offs and counterfeiting.   It is still important for design owners to consult with an attorney experienced in U. S. and foreign design law to plan and implement international design protection.

Major professional organizations and companies have been urging U. S. Hague Agreement membership.  No implementing legislation has been filed until now.  S. 3486 approval is needed to conform U. S. patent law with Hague Agreement requirements.  The changes would increase the design patent term from 14 to 15 year, and make a few other routine amendments.  The design patent term change has not been controversial.  Similar treaties to which the U. S. belongs and that have the advantages mentioned above have been very successful:  Madrid Protocol for trademarks and Patent Cooperation Treaty for utility patents.  It is the design patent turn to go global.

Organizations and individuals should contact immediately their Senators and Representatives in Congress, and the leadership of  the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Committee to  express their views on whether the legislation should be passed promptly or allowed to drift this congressional term with no significant action.  Once the U. S. joins the treaty it is expected that other major users of design protection systems will join the Hague Agreement, including China and Japan.  South Korea is scheduled to join this year.

The record of Congressional and  executive administrations performance on  the U. S. joining the Hague Agreement is as follows:

1.  1999 Diplomatic Conference successful completion of the Hague Agreement, where the      U. S. government signed the treaty indicating a willingness to make the effort to become a member.  The PTO was a very active participant in development of the Geneva Act (For further details on the treaty development and operation, see William T.  Fryer III,  The Geneva Act (1999) of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, Drafting History and Analysis (2005), Kluwer Law International.

2.  In 2003 the treaty became operational, and now there are 45 countries and regional organization members, including the European Union, of the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement.

3.   In 2007 the U. S. Senate ratified the Geneva Act, and the PTO sent proposed legislation to Congress.  No significant action occurred on the legislation until the following bill was filed in 2012.

4.  On August 12, 2012, S. 3486 (112th Cong., 2d Sess.) was filed in the U. S. Senate,  to a major legislative step for U. S. Hague Agreement membership.  Also, this legislation implements a second treaty, the Patent Law Treaty (PLT), developed mainly for utility patents.  PLT has not been a controversial proposal.  These treaties have a historical connection, appearing about the same time for implementation, and neither one was considered controversial or high priority by Congress or the administrations.  The Hague agreement did distinguish itself by its important potential economic impact, while PLT improved procedures mainly for utility patents.  The joinder of the two treaties in one bill should not slow down the enactment at this time.

After Congress approves the legislation and the President signs it there are other major steps needed for Hague Agreement membership   The PTO must prepare new regulations to interface with current design patent regulations. It does not appear that any major work on preparing them has been started by the PTO.  There is a process to complete new regulations requiring  public comments.  There has been no notice of proposed rules on the Hague Agreement.

The S. 3486  legislation has a provision that states the law will become effective one year after the President signs the bill, or when the necessary documents are filed with the treatu administrator and the stated effective date occurs, which ever date comes later.  This provision is consistent with a commitment orally stated by the PTO leadership, to have the Hague Agreement up and running for U. S. design owner within one year after the aforementioned  bill is enacted..   The challenge is to get the bill approved in fall 2012,  and complete the regulations soon thereafter.  The last step, coordinated with the Department of State, is to deposit the membership documents and indicated when the U. S. wants to become a member of the Hague Agreement.  Now the process for U. S. Hague Agreement membership is in the hands of Congress, the PTO and the public, with a strong PTO influence.  The goal of Hague Agreement membership is within  reach.

It is encouraging that the Executive Branch has chosen  Hague Agreement membership and improved international design protection to be presented to Congress and the public at this important time.  It makes good sense, now that the work on patent law reform (AIA new law) is well underway.  The U. S. Hague Agreement membership is an important step in improving the U. S. economy.  It is politically significant for both U. S. major  political parties for the U. S.  to obtain this membership promptly.

This web site's Hague Agreement Information Center has helpful documents on the Hague Agreement for use by researchers and attorneys.  Very soon additional background information will be posted on the Information Center page and the Information Center will be analyzed in an upcoming Newsletter.   Every effort will be made to post on the Information Centter the status of the U. S. preparation to become a Geneva Act member.

Click here  to reach the Hague Agreement Information Center.



Design Patent: U. S. Dramatic Changes due to AIA

William T. Fryer III, Professor Emeritus, University of Baltimore School of Law

A major change in U. S. patent law has occurred.  Most of the attention to the new legislation has been on utility patents.  Since design patents are a partner with utility patents for product protection, it is equally important to consider the AIA impact on protection of product design.  This article recommends a guiding principle for future patent law revision, to insure that design patents continue to be an effective form of intellectual property (IP)  protection.



(New) Fryer Institute Newsletter No. 9, April 14, 2012.

1.  Featured  Article FRYER, Design Patent: U. S. Dramatic Changes Due to AIA;

2.  Fashion Design Protection Effort to Obtain New Legislation Continues;

3.  Hague Agreement Design Treaty Update  on Treaty Membership Growth and
             U. S. Implementation Effort;

4.  Car Parts Design Protection New Legislation Filed in Congress;

5.  U. S. PTO Design Patent Day, April 10, 2012  Brief Report on Event;

6.  Activities of FRYER INSTITUTE Update



(New)  Fryer Institute Newsletter No. 8, June 28, 2008.

1.  Introduction
2.  Product part replacement -- Legislation and debate:  Is there utility patent or design patent infringement  when a product is repaired?
3.  U. S. Senate held hearing on product piracy
4.  U. S. PTO 2008 Design Patent Day reports
5.  Major pending U. S. appellant court case reviewing U. S. design patent infringement law
5.  U. S. Senate ratifies the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement -- Next Step is implementation.
6.  Recent U. S. PTO design patent statistics analysis
7.  Trend continues in adopting market entry design protection
8.  Recent WIPO book on how to teach IP law includes industrial design law.

Link to Fryer Institute Newsletter No. 8, June 28, 2008


(New) (Updated -- June 28, 2008)   GENEVA ACT INFORMATION CENTER

See Newsletter No. 8, June 28, 2008, for update

The Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the Internation Registration of Industrial Designs (Geneva Act) is a treaty that provides international protection of industrial designs (design patents in the U.S), similar to the Patent Cooperation Treaty for utility patents and the Madrid Protocol for trademarks.  At the beginning the Geneva Act Information Center will focus on United States steps to ratify the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement treaty.  This feature will help United States companies that are participating in the United States ratification process.  The Information Center will include the features, summarized below.

Summary of Center contents:
1.  (Updated June 28, 2007) Status of United States ratification effort:  U. S. ratified Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement.  Next step is to implement the treaty by enacting necessary patent law changes and approving PTO rule changes -- See Newsletter No. 8 for updates and more details;
2.  Introduction to the United States treaty ratification process;
3.  Explanation of how United States companies can participate in the Geneva Act ratification process, including whom to contact to submit your comments ;
4.  Current list of the Geneva Act members (See Newsletter No. 8);
5.  Summary of benefits from foreign design protection;
6.  Introduction to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement:  by William T. Fryer, III, article titled: A NEW WAY for United States Design Owners to Obtain Foreign Design Protection (Concepts and Glossary of the Geneva Act) (2006).
7.  President Bush's letter forwarding the Geneva Act treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification, and the State Department recomemdations letter.  The State Department letter has an indepth analysis of key features of the Geneva Act.  It is an excellent further introduction to how the treaty works.

This Information Center will be updated as significant new developments occur, or when more complete information is received.  Updates, comments and questions about the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement, in connection with the United States ratification process, are welcomed -- Please send them to the web site editor, Professor Fryer, at E-mail:

Click here for acess to the Geneva Act Information Center Index:  Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement (Industrial Design Protection treaty) Information Center-- .


Announcement: Publication of a book on the Geneva Act (1999), published by Kluwer Law International, written by William T. Fryer, III, on the drafting history and operation of the treaty. Details are on the linked page.

Fryer Institute Newsletter No. 7, March 9, 2005.  The reason for the gap in updating the web site is explained partially by the above announcement.   This newsletter reports on the status of the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement accessions,  FICPI Rome Designs Symposium held in 2001 and the WIPO 2004 Venice International Conference on Designs.  Guidance is given on how to access important publications from these conferences.   The U. S. Design Patent Database has been updated to March 6, 2005.  This feature started with the last newsletter, with guidance on how to located the text of U. S. design patent cases on the internet.  Several important cases are analyzed briefly.  An update on the U.S. Vessel Hull Design protection Act is provided, including a review of the report on a five year review by the U. S. government on the Act's operation.

Status of Geneva Act (1999).  The Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement is now operational, and several more countries have acceded to the Act.  The effort continues to generate more interest in membership, to make this treaty the foundation for global design protection.  Details on recent accessions and progress in future accessions are on the linked page.

FICPI 6th Open Forum, November 14-17, 2001, Designs Symposium, Rome, Italy.  There was a major international conference held by FICPI and selected papers from this conference were published by the University of Baltimore, Intellectual Property Journal. The details on how to obtain copies of the Journal issue with these publications is in the linked document.

WIPO International Conference on Designs, May 13-14, 2004, Venice, Italy.   A major conference on international design protection stimulated interest in the Geneva Act and provided a wealth of information on national and international design protection.  Several papers have been published on the Internet by WIPO, providing extensive information on national impact of industrial design, design protection laws, and how to develop a multi-countries design protection program. Details on the Conference and how to access the papers are in the linked document.

U.S. Vessel Hull Design Protection Act.  Several documents on this web site related to the early stages of the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act (VHDPA), a unique form of protection aimed at piracy.  The VHDPA is very similar to the European Union Community Design Regulation, with an initial period of protection against copying without registration and subsequent registration to continue protection.  The effect of the VHDPA was reviewed by the U. S. Copyright Office and the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office, recently, and the final report on this review was issued in November 2003.  The report concluded that there was not enough time to determine the effect of this law on the boating industry. Comments on the hearing and the final report are in the linked document.

U.S. Design Patent Database Updated to February 16, 2005) A new feature of this web site is to provide access to recent U. S. design patent cases.  The resource should be especially useful to researchers and practitioners who do not have access to a library with U. S. case law.  The present database lists current cases going back five years.  The database is organized in chronological order, with the most recent case listed first.  A reference to the U.S. Patent Quarterly (BNA) citation is provided.  Instructions are provided on how to locate the cases on the Internet.  While every effort will be made to keep the database relatively up to date, persons working on a legal issue should consult an attorney for the latest information.

(NEW) FRYER CURRICULUM VITAE (As of August 12, 2012).    A detailed curriculum vitae for Professor Fryer is provided with his work experience, professional activities and cites to selected published articles.  He recently retired from full time teaching at the University Baltimore school of law and became a Professor Emeritus there.  He continues some of his professional activities, and he has published articles recently.  This post-retirement work is included in the update.

FRYER Newsletter No. 6, June 5, 2003.  This newsletter introduces a new, regular feature of the web site:  a database on recent U. S. design patent cases, with instructions on how to locate the cases on the Internet.  Also the newsletter includes news on several important industrial design protection developments, including the new design treaty (Geneva Act) Global Implementation, and the review process now underway for the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act.  Finally, the newsletter introduces resources now available on the European Community (EU) Design, the new regulation that will provide EU wide design protection.  This feature will be updated as new Community Design resources become available.

 Recent U. S. Design Patents Database --  (last updated June 5, 2003.  A new feature of this web site is to provide access to recent U. S. design patent cases.  The resource should be especially useful to researchers and practitioners who do not have access to a library with U. S. case law.  The present database lists current cases going back five years.  The database is organized in chronological order, with the most recent case listed first.  A reference to the U.S. Patent Quarterly (BNA) citation is provided.  Instructions are provided on how to locate the cases on the Internet.
While every effort will be made to keep the database relatively up to date, persons working on a legal issue should consult an attorney for the latest information.

Introduction to EU Community Design Resources -- A periodically updated feature (last update June 5, 2003).  The new EU Community Design Regulation is operational, both the unregistered protection against copying upon market entry, and the registration part, for longer and more effective protection.  The purpose of this report is to introduce resources related to the Community design and provide an analysis on their effectiveness and how to use them.  The first review focuses mainly on the EU Office of Trademark and Designs web site resources.  The EU Community Design already has had a major impact on development of industrial design laws.  Its effect can be seen in the countries that desire EU membership.  The importance of unregistered design protection, providing market entry protection against copying, follows a trend that will continue.

Professor Fryer's testimony on review of the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act --  March 18, 2003.  The Copyright Office and the Patent and Trademark Office initiated their review, mandated by Congress, of the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act (see other documents on this web site on the early history of this Act).  In general, the hearing held on March 18, 2003, showed support for continuing the law.  There was general agreement that the registration procedures needed updating, to make the registration more effective and easier to prepare.

 Update on the Global Implementation of the Geneva Act Industrial Design Treaty.  The Global implementation of the Geneva Act on industrial designs will occur soon, may be this summer, or in the early fall, but the U. S. will not be a member based on the present level of effort being put forth to obtain ratification.  There has been no priority by the U. S. PTO given to the ratification task.  It is time to press the PTO administration, Congressional  staffs and others to take action.  The U. S. needs to be a member of this treaty, to function effectively in the international business community.  The high interest in utility patents, both domestically and internationally, should not force the design owners off the playing field of international competition.

Utility patents are not the only answer to product market success.  Product appearance contributes significantly to sales a and attracts copiers.  Software and movies are not the only product being pirated.  Most countries recognize this fact and many are noted for their attractive and useful products that are effectively protected.

The fact that several recent, successful litigation cases have involved both utility patents and design patents suggests that design patent protection is an essential partner to product market success.  Think about whether your business or client wants to use the separate filing in each country, with attorneys in each country just to file, and the multiple languages and currencies involved.  The Patent Cooperation Treaty solved these problems for utility patents and U. S. technology businesses.  The Madrid Protocol solved these problems for the U. S. business  with trademarks involved in international trade.   What level of argument is need to make the case for design protection.  The case has been made, and it is time to get busy and have the U. S. ratify the Geneva Act on Industrial Designs promptly.   If more information is needed on this opportunity, please feel free to contact Professor Fryer.

FRYER Newsletter No. 5, April 11, 2002.  This newsletter reports on several major developments related to industrial design protection, including the status of U. S. ratification of the Geneva Act (new design treaty), the EU commencement of the unregistered protection part of their Community Design Regulation system.  In addition, there is a global review of trademark-product configuration protection, and a research report on how to locate statistics on design patents and registration in the U. S. and other countries.

FRYER PAPER: Trademark Product Appearance Features, United States and Foreign Protection Evolution:  A need for Clarification and Harmonization, published in the John Marshal Law Review, Vol. 34, No. 4, Summer 2001, 947-971.
This article analyzes the effect of recent U. S. Supreme Court cases on U. S. trademark product configuration protection, comparing these developments with the EU protection.

EU Community Design Regulation has been approved and the unregistered design protection part is now in operation.

(New -- June 28, 2008) U.S. PTO and WIPO Global Design Patent Statistics and Analysis.  Statistics on design patents and registrations are available on the U. S. PTO and WIPO web sites.  This data can be used in national and international economic analysis.  See Newsletter No. 8, June 28, 2008,  for update.

Fryer Newsletter No. 4, October 16, 2000.  This Newsletter features announcement of a U. S. PTO Design Conference, a status report on the New Act of the Hague Agreement (Industrial Designs) ratification by the U. S., and several major developments on U. S. trade dress  law.  The trade dress report includes an analysis (mini paper) on current U. S. law and a comparative review of with foreign laws.  In addition, a recent change in the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act and its status of use are reported, along with the status of the EU Community Design System (Regulation).

SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION OF NEW DESIGN TREATY. A Diplomatic Conference on the New Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs (New Act) was concluded on July 6, 1999. Many countries, including the U. S, signed the New Act. It provided for a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) administered central filing system for design patent applications in member countries and regional entities. A detailed report and analysis on the history and features of the New Act are provided on this web site.  Newsletter No. 4 has an update on this topic.

(Unique)  Web Power Point Presentation in Support of Ratification of the New Act of the Hague Agreement -- History, Features and Practice.  For users of Microsoft Power Point 97 and above, the presentation can be viewed by clicking on the link.  This step will download the file and open it in your computer. You can copy it and make presents using this file, for educational purposes.

Fryer Newsletter No. 3, January 5, 1999. This Newsletter features several important, recent developments around the world in design protection. Reports and resource materials are provided on the new European Union Design Directive, the new U.S. Vessel Hull Design Protection Act. The latest edition of Chapter 1500 on Design Patents, U. S. Patent and Trademark Office Manual of Patent examining Procedures, is included. This Chapter incorporates the recent rule changes discussed in the last newsletter. The Diplomatic conference on the Revised Design Treaty has been set for 1999. The Country and Regional Design Protection Information List has a new item on Australian Design Registrations and related statutes and regulation. Other special features are on: the WIPO Intellectual Property Library, U. S. PTO Web Site Adds Page with Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on Design Patent Applications, and New CD-ROM WIPO Designs Bulletin Publication.

Vessel Hull Design Protection Act was enacted on October 28, 1998. It provides protection against copying the shape of boat hulls and decks when they are introduced into the market, before any registration application is filed. This type of protection was the subject of earlier legislation for a broad group of products. There is an opportunity now to evaluate the effectiveness of this type of legislation. The law is scheduled to sunset in two years, with requirement that an evaluation report be completed by then. An introductory report and resources related to this legislation are provided on this web site for studying the new law.  Newsletter No. 4 has an update on this topic.

European Union Design Directive. European Union (EU) has published the long awaited Design Directive that will harmonize significantly the design laws of its members. The spare parts issue that delayed approval was not resolved, but a plan to work out the details was set up. An introductory report on the Design Directive , including the Directive text are on this web site. In the near future the EU Community Design System should be approved, and in operation at the EU office in Alicante, Spain.  Newsletter No. 4 has an update on this topic.

(A more recent MPEP edition has been published - See USPTO web site - site index)  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Manual of Examining Procedure (MPEP), Revision 1, published February 2000 (7th Edition), Chapter 1500 on Design Patents is now available on the PTO web site under the Patent heading. These guidelines are very helpful in preparing and prosecuting design patent applications. The most recent Patent and Trademark Office rule changes (discussed elsewhere on this web site) are incorporated in this version. A brief introduction to these guidelines can be found in the commentary of U.S. Design Patent Special Statutes on this site.

Item Added on Australian Design -Registration in Country and Regional Industrial Design Protection Feature. This feature provides information on selected articles and other resources on design protection, organized by country and region. The latest addition is a very useful summary on the Australian design registration and the full text of the Designs Act and Designs Regulations with some updated information. The documents are on the Australian Patent Office web site [link to my page on Australia].

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on U. S. Design Patents. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (U. S. PTO) has available on its web site a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) [link to the FAQ page; also be sure I have added this item to the Special Interest web site page] about design patents. In addition, the U. S. PTO FAQ page provides access to forms related to design patents that can be printed out.

WIPO IP Library. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has an excellent IP library and staff that can help in locating WIPO publications and other resources. The design section of this library is very thoroughly indexed and the library has an extensive on design protection.. The WIPO web site has a link to its Library page. The WIPO Library web site page provides access to some of these materials, and has a special feature that is worth examining regularly, listing the contents of recent IP publications.

Recent Major Design Patent Decision. In re Daniels case was decided on May 20, 1998 by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (No. 97-1225, Serial No. 29/020,787), in favor of Daniels. It is victory for U.S. design patent system flexibility and enables the system to interface more effectively on an international level. The Court 's decisions on this web site with the figures. The amicus brief filed by William T. Fryer, III, in support of Daniels is on the site too.

In summary, the Court held that a parent design patent application disclosure showing a product configuration and an overall surface design, along with a distinct and separable insignia can be relied on for a filing date in a continuation application for the product configuration and overall surface design only. A more detailed analysis of the decision will be given, in a subsequent newsletter found on this site.

U.S. Design Patent Special Statutes and Commentary are available on this site. The statutes discussed are 35 U.S.C. sections 171-173 (1998). They are the foundation for the U.S. design patent system, coupled with the general patent statute that applies where there are no special statutory provisions applicable to design patents.

Report on design patent topics from PTO Open House, held July 29, 1998. The format and presentations allowed participants to learn PTO plans and performance evaluations. The Design Group staff presented several important topics and ample time was available for discussion. Design patent law practitioners should plan to attend the next Open House.

Paper: U.S. Protection of Well Known and Famous Marks, submitted for presentation at September 24-25, 1998 Conference of the Indonesia Intellectual Property Society at Bandung, Indonesia. The paper introduces recent developments in the U.S. on protection of well known and famous marks. The Federal Anti-dilution Act, 15 U.S.C. section 1125(c) is discussed, with particular attention to its application to Internet domain name situations.

FRYER NEWSLETTER - No. 2,  NOVEMBER 10, 1997. This newsletter features include an analysis of the major new PTO rule changes that effect design patent application procedures. Other topics include an update on the PTO reengineering project affects on design patent applications, a brief report on the 7th meeting of experts on the Industrial Design Treaty, held November 3-7, 1997, and the status of the AIPLA industrial design publication of selected articles from the 1996 conference.

This newsletter introduces several new documents now on the web site. The testimony by Professor Fryer on the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act hearing, held October 23, 1997 is provided. Another document is the amicus curiae Brief filed by Professor Fryer in the In re Daniels appeal to the Federal Circuit on the right to claim subject matter from an earlier filed design patent application in a copending application. The final document is a paper given by Professor Fryer at the Paris meeting of ATRIP, July 7-9, 1997, on use of the Internet for intellectual property research and communications.

FRYER NEWSLETTER- NO. 1, MARCH 24, 1997. The first newsletter was published when this web site was started. The newsletter introduction explained that the purpose of the web site and the newsletter series was to provide current information on industrial design protection. Other topics presented included an alert to the proposed changes in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) rule changes, with several changes having a major effect on design patent application practice. Another topic was a review of the revision work on the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial designs (Industrial Design Treaty), through the 6th meeting of experts in 1996. The newsletter introduced the IBM web site and explained how to obtain copies of U.S. design patents from it. A report was given on the 1996 Industrial Design Conference and the upcoming publication of selected papers. The newsletter described the PTO reengineering project that has used the Design Group to try out an integrated processing of design patent applications, from mail opening to preparation for issue.

MAJOR PTO DESIGN PATENT RULE CHANGES. The PTO rule changes, effective December 1, 1997, effect several important design patent procedures. The changes include a relaxation of the drawing shading requirements, simplification of the requirements to obtain a filing date, and allowing for the first time in design patents for color drawings and photos. This report describes the changes and analyzes their impact, as well as suggests the need for other rule changes.

FRYER PAPER:  Internet IP Research and Publication: A search for Quality and Global Communications, presented at the annual meeting of ATRIP (International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property), July 7-9, 1997, Paris, France. This paper reviews the experience of the author in creating and using this web site. Several web sites that are particularly helpful for IP research are identified.

FRYER TESTIMONY on the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act, H.R. 2696 (105th Cong., 1st Sess.), before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, October 23, 1997. This bill resembles the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984 and the general industrial design legislation, as represented by H.R. 1790 (102d Cong., 1st Sess.). It is an effort to focus design protection on an industrial where copying may create unfair competitive advantages. The testimony provides a historical perspective on the bill, and a preliminary evaluation. An introductory report and resources on this legislation, along with Professor Fryer's testimony, are provided on this web site.

How to Locate and Copy U.S. DESIGN PATENTS on the Internet. This feature introduces the IBM web site that has U.S. design patents (text and drawings). It offers suggestions on how to use the IBM resource most effectively, and a link to it.

SPECIAL INTEREST WEB SITES ON INDUSTRIAL DESIGN PROTECTION. This page includes a brief description of and links to web sites that specifically address design protection topics. Sites listed includes the U.S. PTO web site where a very valuable practice document is found: Guide to Design Patents. Another web site is the AIPLA Industrial Designs Committee current report. A link is provided to The Hungarian Patent Office web site where the Hungarian design patent law and procedures are summarized.


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