Inconsistent Figures Render Two Design Patents Indefinite

Spanx, Inc. v. Times Three Clothier, LLC

Case Number: 1:13-cv-02157-DLC (Dkt. 58)

Judge Cote construed claims in six design patents, and determined that two of the patents were indefinite. The patents at issue are design Patents Nos. 606,285; 616,627; 622,477; 623,377; 665,558; and 666,384, and all are entitled “Garment.”

The court considered the figures of the ‘558´ patent and of the ‘384´ patent, and found that inconsistencies in each rendered them insolubly ambiguous. By way of example, in the ‘558´ patent shown below, the front and back views show a straight ornamental line under the bust, but the side views show that this line is angled at approximately 30 degrees. Replacing the straight line of the front view with an angled line would, the court said, “materially alter the ‘subject matter . . . covered by the exclusive rights of the patent” (citing Ancor Techs. v. Apple, Inc., 744 F.3d 732, 737 (Fed. Cir. 2014)) and thus render the patent indefinite.

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