Fed. Cir. Reverses Columbia Sportswear Design Patent Infringement Win

Written November 15, 2019


The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on November 13, 2019, reversed Columbia Sportswear’s win in a patent infringement case regarding its design patent for a waved-pattern design used in cold-weather products like gloves and coats. Columbia Sportswear v. Seirus Innovative Accessories, Fed. Cir., 18-01329, 11/13/19.

Columbia sued Seirus in 2015 in the US District Court for the District of Oregon. The court found on summary judgment that Seirus’ HeatWave products infringed Columbia’s design patent. Viewing the designs side-by-side, the court then reasoned that “even the most discerning customer would be hard pressed to notice the differences between Seirus’s HeatWave design and Columbia’s patented design,” characterizing the difference in wave pattern, orientation, and the presence of Seirus’s logo as “minor differences.” However, the Federal Circuit found that the district court erred in granting summary judgment, noting the principle mistake was ignoring repeating Seirus logo boxes on the design.