Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Patently Stupid

Some time ago I talked about U.S. design patents and some of the problems with them. One of the problems I mentioned was people stuffing the submitted drawings with all kinds of functional features, with no duty to explain to anyone which bits are functional and which bits are decorative.

Fast forward to PHG Tech v. St. John (Fed. Cir. 2006), as covered on Patently O. PHG's vast arsenal of intellectual property can be seen here. (somebody let me know if that link doesn't work*). Five design patents for medical label sheets. Somebody at PHG has pretty big balls even daring to try and enforce the rights on that crap. PHG had obtained a preliminary injunction, which was overturned by the CAFC on this functionality issue that I talked about. That is because the CAFC cannot overturn an injunction on the basis of the plaintiff is a cretin and these patents are stupid.

* If you want to view the patent images at the USPTO, use AlternaTIFF. You may have to take a hatchet to Quicktime, but you should probably do that anyway.

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