By Jeff Watson

Jeff Watson is a patent attorney with 11+ years of experience.  He tracks the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for news.  Please find his most recent news link below:

User interfaces is an emerging field with a lot of technologies and products, even more so in the design patent area of patent law.  In fact, the fastest growing segment of design patent filings is user interfaces.

The following article in The Crunch by Beth Ferrill, Lauren Dreyer, Erik Dreyer and John Sanchez discusses this topic.

Swipe to Patent: Design Patents In the Age of User Interfaces

The following is an exert from this article:

“User experience and user-interface design is an emerging field in the technology industry, even more so in the legal world of patents. (Sometimes this field is known by the shorthand UX/UI.) It might surprise you to know that the fastest growing segment of design patent filings is in the UX/UI space.

In the past, companies that manufactured a physical object, like a sneaker, often protected their designs with design patents. For a company like Nike, design-patent protection is important to preventing competitors from copying their shoe designs. But, the same is true for companies invested in UX/UI.

The surge in UX/UI design has created iconic features that cause consumers to immediately associate a design with a particular brand. From cell phones to remote controls, gaming devices to virtual reality headsets, modern products are carefully designed with the user in mind.

Because a product’s success often depends upon these creative design choices, protecting the design is critically important to differentiating your product from a competitor’s product.

Some of the top filers of UX/UI design patents include Samsung, Microsoft and Apple. With more and more innovation happening in non-traditional digital spaces, like wearables, smart watches and even home appliances, user interfaces and experiences are becoming a key segment of a company’s overall brand and should be considered part of their overall IP portfolio. This is true for established companies and startups.

Nonetheless, there remains some skepticism and misconceptions about design protection in the UX/UI area. We all sat down to talk about why design patents matter for UX/UI.”

 

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