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Automotive Body Parts Association v. Ford Global Technologies

| Category: Firm News

The U.S. Supreme Court denied the Automotive Body Parts Association’s petition for certiorari from the Federal Circuit’s decision upholding Ford design patents for “new, original and ornamental design” headlamp and hood designs on certain models of Ford’s F-150 trucks.

The Federal Circuit had rejected the argument presented by the Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) at the district court level that Ford’s design patents were primarily functional and therefore invalid.

The Federal Circuit held that ABPA’s argument that “Ford’s hood and headlamp designs are functional because they aesthetically match the F-150 truck”… “was inadequate to render that design functional”.

The Federal Circuit rejected the ABPA argument to limit the enforcement of Ford’s design patents to “the initial marked for sale of the F-150 and not in the market for replacement parts”.

The Federal Circuit also rejected ABPA’s argument that Ford’s patent rights were unenforceable under the related doctrines of exhaustion and repair. As Ford’s design patents claimed designs as applied to portions of particular components rather than in conjunction with the whole truck, the Federal Circuit upheld the district court’s decision that purchasing a vehicle does not permit the purchaser to have new auto parts made covered by Ford’s design patents.

           

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