Meeting of the Minds

Pattern Overlay: Do Design Patents and Copyright Protection Work with—or Against—Each Other?

Justin M. Clark and Julianne R. Davis

©2014. Published in Landslide, Vol. 6, No. 4, March/April 2014, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

The famed human psychologist Abraham Maslow coined the phrase “To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.” Although this quote has a great deal of relevance in the field of psychology, it also can be taken as the mantra of intellectual property attorneys. After all, many of the questions IP attorneys face in daily practice involve a weighing of different types of proprietary subject matter with the requirement that the attorney properly advise clients on the best form of protection. Viewed in this way, Maslow’s caveat against using only one type of tool in all situations has special significance.

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