Protecting Industrial Designs: Is the U.S. Behind the World?

Donna P. Suchy

©2017. Published in Landslide, Vol. 9, No. 5, May/June 2017, 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 protection of industrial designs has long been a popular subject for intellectual property (IP) experts, legislators, actual designers, and those that employ them.1 Some argue that protecting industrial designs will foster more creativity and innovation.2 Others believe that extending or expanding protection will harm our economy, causing consumer goods prices to rise.3 Not surprisingly, with such diverse views, U.S. lawmakers have been reluctant to change the current laws as they apply to protecting industrial designs.4 As a result, many feel that the United States does not adequately protect industrial designs, especially when compared to protections offered by other nations.5

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