Monday, October 12, 2009, 8:17 AM

Pew Patent Reminder Of Usefulness Of Utility Patents For Furniture

On October 7, 2009 Sauder Manufacturing Company of Archbold, Ohio sued Souter, Inc. d/b/a Covenant Church Manufacturing ("Covenant") of Ozark, Missouri for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 5,890,761 entitled "Pew Having Discrete Seating Portions" ("the ''761 Patent"). (See Case No. 3:09-cv-2325 (N.D. Ohio)). The '761 patent claims a standard church pew having two removable seating portions positioned on the bench. Each seating portion has a predetermined width. Covenant has yet to respond.

The '761 Patent is a good reminder that utility patents serve a vital role in protecting furniture design. In the case of the Sauder pew, the improvement is modest but Sauder nonetheless took the time and expended the resources necessary to secure a utility patent. The furniture company that uses the correct mix of utlity and design patents, in combination with copyright and trade dress, will have the upper hand in the marketplace. Of course, for those companies already using intellectual property to protect their furniture I'm merely preaching to the choir.

No word from the clergy or from the man upstairs on the merits of this case.

Figure 4 from Sauder's '761 Patent is below:


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November 8, 2009 at 3:29 AM  

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