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In reference to the design patent: USD 666,896 S1

Can a similar product be made without violating this patent? What exactly is patented? The loops? The look?

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A design patent such as this one protects an ornamental design; or, roughly speaking, what something looks like. It is the entire design, not just one part of it, that matters.

A product that looks like what is shown in the design patent's drawings might infringe.

It is hard to answer any more precisely than that without knowing what the "similar product" looks like.

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Design patents are more powerful than they used to be in light of recent rulings:

http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2014/03/01/design-patent-infringement-how-to-decide-if-you-should-sue/id=48304/

Do some more research and you will see also. It used to be said that a 10% difference is enough to get around a design patent ... I don't think so anymore.

  • I'm a bit worried that this may feel more like a discussion response than an answer to this user's question. Referencing the "10% difference" is a good start, but remember that this asker may not be familiar with the concept, or might not be as effective as you are at reading through that article. Including some additional information here would help to keep this answer self-contained and useful. – Matthew Haugen Jul 18 '16 at 6:46

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