CAFC Affirmed the Lower Court Claim Construction and Design Patent Infringement Ruling on a Copy-Cat Case of Children’s Chalk Holder Designs

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Lanard Toys Limited v. Dolgencorp LLC, No. 2019-1781, (Fed. Cir. May 14, 2020), affirmed the lower court’s claim construction in the design of a toy chalk holder that looks like a pencil to be “the precise proportions of its various elements in relation to each other, the size and ornamentation of the ferrule, and the particular size and shape of the conical tapered end.” Lanard at 7. In doing so, the Court reaffirmed that the functional features of the design as well as the functional purpose of the design as a whole should be excluded from the scope of protection. Id. at 7. In addition, features found in the prior art should also be excluded so that all that remains are the ornamental features that distinguish the overall appearance of the design from the prior art. Id. The functional features excluded from the scope of the claim in this case included the “conical tapered piece,” “elongated body,” “ferrule,” “eraser,” “functional purpose as a writing utensil,” “general thickness,” and “the circular opening at the tapered end.” Id. at 6.