From IPads to Crocs, New Patent Law Protects Design

Photograph by RunPhoto/Getty Images

One of Apple’s key weapons in its legal battle against competitors is a special type of patent that protects the visual appearance of a product. Critics have denounced these patents as a way to own “rounded rectangles”, but we may have to get used to seeing a lot more of them. Last week President Obama signed a law that will increase the term and scope of so-called design patents. The law could offer U.S. designers a new way to fight knockoffs—but some fear it will strain an already overburdened Patent Office and make America’s troubled patent system even more dysfunctional.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.