Carani Successfully Argues Case of First Impression at Federal Circuit on behalf of Columbia Sportswear


On September 15, 2023, in a case of first impression, the Federal Circuit vacated a jury verdict of non-infringement in the design patent dispute between Columbia Sportswear and Seirus Innovative Accessories. On behalf of Columbia Sportswear, Christopher V. Carani argued the appeal, which dealt with the fundamental issue of what is the proper scope of comparison prior art in the design patent infringement test. Ultimately, the Court agreed with Columbia Sportswear’s position that comparison prior art should be limited to prior art from the same type of article of manufacture identified in the design patent, and reversed the jury verdict of non-infringement finding prejudicial legal error with the trial court’s jury instructions.

In this Law360 article on the topic, Chris states “This is certainly a big win for Columbia Sportswear, but also a big win for design patent jurisprudence.” Chris says the adoption of his argument “brings a needed equilibrium between the scope of protection that design patents provide and the scope of comparison prior art by which they are judged.”

In coverage of the story from Patently-O, Dennis Crouch concluded “The decision benefits design patent holders – making it easier to prove infringement and also places more weight on skillful decisions made during prosecution to define the article of manufacture.”

The Columbia Sportswear design patent No. D657,093 claims an ornamental design for a heat-reflective material.