CURVER LUXEMBOURG, SARL, v. HOME EXPRESSIONS INC.

CURVER LUXEMBOURG, SARL, v. HOME EXPRESSIONS INC., Appeal No. 2018-2214 (Fed. Cir. September 12, 2019).  Before Chen, Hughes, and Stoll.  Appealed from D.N.J. (Judge McNulty) (Design Infringement)

Background:

Curver claimed Home Expressions infringed a design patent entitled “Pattern for a Chair” and claiming an “ornamental design for a pattern for a chair.”  Curver alleged that baskets made and sold by Home Expressions incorporated the claimed design pattern, and thus infringed the patent.

The figures of the design patent illustrate the design pattern, and are disembodied from any article of manufacture.  Although the originally applied-for patent was directed to a pattern for a furniture part, Curver amended the title to recite “a chair” in response to an objection to the title for failing to designate a particular article for the design, as suggested by the Examiner during prosecution.

The district court granted Home Expression’s motion to dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) after construing the scope of the patent, comparing the accused products to the construed scope, and determining whether the accused baskets infringed.  When determining whether the accused baskets infringed, the district court found that an ordinary observer would not purchase Home Expressions’s basket with the ornamental “Y” design believing that the purchase was for an ornamental “Y” design applied to a chair.

Issue/Holding:

Did the district court err by determining that the scope of the design patent is limited by the terms in the claim? (continue reading)

Summary byGary Koo

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