In Curver Luxembourg, SARL v. Home Expressions, Inc. (Fed. Cir., September 12, 2019), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) had to determine whether US Design Patent No. D677,948 which shows a design pattern, but which is entitled “Pattern for a Chair” and claims an “ornamental design for a pattern for a chair”, has a scope which covers any article (including baskets sold by the defendant) or is limited to the pattern as applied to a chair.
The CAFC agreed with the district court that the language “ornamental design for a pattern for a chair” limits the scope of the design. The CAFC noted that in determining the scope of a design patent, “we have traditionally focused on the figures illustrated in the patent.” In this case, however, the figures to not show an article of manufacture, but merely a design. The CAFC noted that because design patents are granted only for a design applied to an article of manufacture, the claim language can limit the scope of a design patent where the claim language supplies the only instance of an article of manufacture that appears nowhere in the figures.