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June 18, 2020 | By S&H
Posted in: S&H IP Blog | U.S. Court of Appeals For The Federal Circuit

Automotive Body Parts Association v. Ford Global Technologies

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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