Jeff Skierka Designs post in facebook in may 2012

Dosen't this public display of the same idea by a different author before the presentation date of this publication constitutes nulifies this patent and makes it public domain?

2 Answers 2


A patent doesn't become spontaneously invalid by someone posting undiscovered killer prior art. Until they go to court with someone for infringement or a third party pays the fees for an interpartes review by the USPTO, the status of the patent doesn't change. In practice, if the patentee knew about this they would probably decide it was not reasonable to threaten anyone.

It is also possible that the legs we can't see in the photo are distinctive and very different in looks from the patented table. In that case it might not be "killer" prior art.

  • The legs are different between the design patent and Jeff Skierka's design which uses hand-bent steel powder coated legs. $4950 is a bit out of my range. Is a table with four legs as the only distinctiveness from prior art eligible, or are the legs functional or obvious? The patentee could always compete on price.
    – user679
    Oct 26, 2014 at 3:43
  • I looked at the history of this case and Jeff's table was not found in the examiner's search and therefor not before her/him. The examiner considered a table based on aslot car and one based on an old book. Regardless of our visiblity that the patent should not have granted, it was granted. If you make, sell, etc. something that looks like it you can be sued for infringement. In your defense you will argue that is invalid as obvious Under Jeff's a Facebook photo photo, in light of a blocky table. And you would probably win.
    – George White
    Oct 26, 2014 at 4:32
  • Jeff also has an older table based on a floppy disk.
    – user679
    Oct 26, 2014 at 7:47

It could be prior art if published before the filing date unless derived from the inventor. See the Core77 web page showing the date 25 May 2012. The design patent USD697343 has a priority date of Jun 23, 2012.

See MPEP 2128 II ELECTRONIC PUBLICATIONS AS PRIOR ART, 35 U.S. Code § 102 - Conditions for patentability; novelty, 35 U.S. Code § 172 - Right of priority, 35 U.S. Code § 119 - Benefit of earlier filing date; right of priority (There are no earlier foreign patent applications cited) and 35 U.S. Code § 171 - Patents for designs, wherein novelty is binding on design patents.

It has the appearance of prior art subject to a finding by a court of law or Patent Office action. (See 35 U.S. Code § 282 - Presumption of validity; defenses).

While the law is meant to be readable and understandable by the public if you have an interest in this matter you'd be better served seeking legal advice from a patent attorney rather than asking for an unqualified response here. It's meaning is also subject to case law.

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