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United States Patent and Trademark Office Issues 700,000th Design Patent

Issued: April 02 2014

On March 26, 2014, the Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) commemorated the issuance of the 700,000th design patent during a ceremony with the US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker at Langdon Education Campus in Washington, DC. The patent for the ornamental design for a “Hand-Held Learning Apparatus” was issued to Jason Avery of Berkeley, California and is currently assigned to Emeryville, California-based LeapFrog Enterprises. The ceremony also included the launch of a new Intellectual Property Patch developed as a joint project between the USPTO, Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital and the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation (IPO).

“Design patents play a critical role in ensuring that America’s intellectual property system continues to be a catalyst for American companies and entrepreneurs to innovate,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle Lee. “The design area has increased from twenty five and a half thousand applications in 2009 to just over thirty five thousand filings in 2013.”

“Protecting and promoting our idea-driven economy is essential to keeping America open for business,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The USPTO plays a major role in serving our nation’s innovators by granting them the intellectual property rights they need to secure investment capital, build companies and bring their products and services to the global marketplace.”

“For nearly 20 years, LeapFrog has been a leader in life-changing educational entertainment experiences through innovation-forward solutions such as LeapsterGS and we are honoured to have our device issued the 700,000th design patent,” said John Barbour, chief executive officer at LeapFrog. “The inventor of the LeapsterGS design, Jason Avery, has been with our company for nearly a decade and is a great example of the incredible talent of our team.”

A design patent is directed to the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an article of manufacture. Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface ornamentation. The current most active areas for filings include design applications for recording, communication or information retrieval equipment.  Applications in this area will cover designs of computer equipment, cell phones and other handheld electronic devices such as the LeapFrog Design Patent 700,000.  Additional information on design patents can be found at 
www.uspto.gov/patents/resources/types/designapp.jsp.