Another Design Patent Issued This Week
It’s always fun to see another patent issue. This one, a design patent, published on March 7, 2017.
US Patent #D780,651
Design patent covering a License Plate Frame also known as Jeep. It features the look and style queues of the ever famous Jeep Renegade. If you look at the actual patent, it does not show the “Jeep” name because words in general and registered insignia in specific are not encouraged for patent images. However, the real frame has the licensed Jeep logo, so that is what appears here. Much more fun to see the real thing.
If you like Jeeps, or if you have a friend that likes Jeep, license plate frames make great gifts. Contact Cruiser to get one. It does not appear to be on their website yet. There are, however, many other frames to choose from.
Why A Design Patent?
Patents are a tool for protecting ideas — ideas we call intellectual property. Some ideas are functional where it does not matter so much what it looks like, but rather, how it works. “Utility Patents” cover these functional ideas. On the other hand, some ideas are artistic in nature — like this license plate frame. The function of the frame is generic, but what it looks like, the design, is the intellectual property. A “Design Patent” is a tool for protecting the look, and it’s intended to keep others from making a direct copy.
In this particular case, the “Jeep” insignia is not used in the design patent because “Jeep” is also intellectual property. It is a registered trademark used under license for this frame. Having it in the design patent drawings would create conflict in IP, so it is excluded.
Nothing Is As Simple As It Seems
Achieving the fun design shown in the frame images is not as simple as it looks. As in the image, there are several pieces that come together. These pieces are different materials and must match perfectly. But it’s more than just how it looks. The frame has legal ramifications with covering just the edges of the license plate, and must accommodate all the various license plate sizes and configurations. Did you know that license plate sizes are different around the country? And, there are a ton of manufacturing considerations.
In the end, it’s a compliment when people say “That’s so simple.” It’s rewarding to know that we found a blend of all the considerations, pulled together in a way that the artist is happy, manufacturing is happy, and the final customer likes the product.