Pop culture critic and journalist C.E. Hanifin recently pointed out a fascinating intellectual property controversy at Target Addict. That blog comments on a news story run by The Virginian-Pilot, involving I.P. and lingerie.
April Spring, of Norfolk Virginia, obtained a design patent in December, 2008 for a design of women’s briefs marketed under her Foxers brand. This is the image of the design patent, as it was issued by the U.S Patent Office.
Spring’s design attaches an elastic waist band to the briefs, much like those seen on men’s boxer shorts.
Spring filed a lawsuit against Target, Corp. alleging the retailer knocked-off her design. The Foxers briefs are normally priced at between $20 to $26 a pair. The Target briefs that allegedly rip-off her design are priced at around $5 a pair.
Note: design patents are a special type of patent and differ from utility patents, which cover working inventions. Design patents cover only the ornamental look of a product, as opposed to how the product works.