Design patents in fashion enter patent war

Design Patents were thought to be weak and fluffy. Not anymore! Design Patents have hit fashion and they have entered into patent litigation as well. Lululemon Atletica Inc., the Canadian retailer filed a lawsuit accusing fashion giant Cavlin Klien of infringing patents for pant designs. Lululemon claimed that Calvin Klein was infringing on design patents for its popular $98 “Astro Pant.” Lululemon claimed Calvin Klein’s Performance pants use the same waistband design elements and overall style of its Astro line of pants, the design patents for which was filed on September 2011.

The waistband featured on Lululemon’s Astro line of pants, consists of a series of angular pieces of fabric that form a v-shaped waistline that can be rolled down to sit lower on the waist.

However, Lululemon and Calvin klien finally settled the case out of court, but details of the settlement are confidential. Generally, designers haven’t had much success in protecting designs of clothing. But Lululemon showed a new trend of design patents for clothing. And hurray to Lululemon who dared to use its design patents in yoga patents to sue those who infringed their patents. Thus comes a new dimension to patent war.


Author, Trishala Joseph, is a senior patent engineer working in IP ASTRA.