I came across this design patent in Google: "Reiki ornament" (US D663234 S1)

And I realized it describes a design that is very similar to this artifact, which is on display at a Tibetan museum.

Can this ancient object be used to invalidate the design patent?

  • I know ancient things can be used against utility applications although pre-AIA section 102 said "known in this country". Do the leaves fold up in the museum piece? Assuming there are many existing things in this lotus shape it may be the specific designs on the leaves that set it apart. You would need to look up all of the things cited against the application to see how close the prior art found by the examiner was. There may also be a distinction between a figure surrounded by lotus leafs and a platform surrounded by lotus leafs.
    – George White
    Apr 17, 2013 at 23:41

2 Answers 2


In my opinion, it is unlikely that this design patent would be invalid in view of the artifact.

Design patent claims are construed very narrowly for purposes of infringement and novelty analysis. A number of patented designs are inspired by old or ancient artwork.


Wow. Fascinating.

The Tibetan artifact certainly counts as prior art. There are many differences, however, between the claimed design and the artifact.

Tibetan artifact Design patent

The tips of the leaves in the patented design, for example, are squared off whereas the tips of the leaves in the Tibetan image are pointed. The patented design has characters cut through the leaves. The Tibetan image has raised designs.

For more information on how to draft a strong design patent, see http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2013/07/30/strong-design-patents-the-power-of-the-broken-line/id=44215/

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