Microsoft recently sued Corel for, among other things, infringing its patent on a slider, D554,140, claiming that Corel Home Office has infringed Microsoft’s design.
The design patent, as detailed by Microsoft in its complaint, is titled “User Interface for a Portion of a Display Screen” and entitles Microsoft to own this:
Basically Vole is claiming to own this design of a slider which can be seen in nearly every piece of software in the world.
Unlike utility patents, which are meant for new and useful inventions, design patents are meant for new, non-functional, ornamental aspects of articles. They have only one claim, little to no written description, and usually a series of images detailing what exactly is being claimed.
If Corel is found to infringe even one of Microsoft’s design patents through even the smallest part of Corel Home Office, current Federal Circuit law entitles Microsoft to all of Corel’s profits for the entire product. This means that Vole could collect all Corel Home Office’s profits. So while the whole thing is daft, if Vole wins it could make its competition work for nothing until it replaces all the sliders in its software.