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Court relies on tests to affirm infringementFebruary 23, 2006

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court holding in Lawman Armor Corp. v. Winner International stating that U.S. Design Patent No. 357,621 (the ‘621 patent’) was not infringed. The Federal Circuit court found that each of the alleged ‘points of novelty’ of the ‘621 patented design was disclosed in prior art.Lawman sued Winner International, LLC and Winner Holding LLC (collectively ‘Winner’) in the United States District of Pennsylvania for infringement of the ‘621 patent which claims ‘the ornamental design for a sliding hook portion of a vehicle steering wheel lock assembly.’ The district court granted Winner summary judgment of non-infringement. The court held that Lawman’s proposed points of novelty were found in the prior art and Lawman failed to create a material issue of fact regarding the point of novelty. The Federal Circuit agreed to review the district courts decision regarding the ‘point of novelty’ test.The Federal Circuit began by summarizing the two tests for determining infringement of a design patent.In comparing a design patent claim to the accused design to determine infringement, a court must apply two distinct tests, both of which must be satisfied in order to find infringement: (a) the ‘ordinary observer’ test, and (b) the ‘point of novelty’ test. The ‘ordinary observer’ test requires comparison of the two designs from the viewpoint of the ordinary observer to determine whether the patented design as a whole is substantially the same as the accused design. Under the point of novelty test, a court must determine whether the accused device

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