Designing around bulky patents (without breaking the law)...and a question

Getting flooded with new relevant Core77 content today guys…last one.

Patent awareness at the beginning of a project avoids copying existing IP.

To the footwear designers here on this forum, is this the way you typically work?

First, I have to assume English is a second language for the author. It was a difficult read.

Second, that is not the method we use at our company. Freedom to operate should be left to IP managers, not designers. So we let the designers go willy nilly with their designs and then let the IP managers determine freedom to operate as that is their job.

We once borrowed liberally from a Herman Miller chair design and the designers read the patent description before completing the parts, and ‘transposed’* a few of the claims so as to not infringe on them. That said, totally different non-competing markets.

(* turned them upside down)

That article made no sense.

From my read of it, they did a design that looked like a pretty close copy of another shoe (I’m guessing Salomon), and they got in trouble for it.

It sounds like a Design Patent and nothing too surprising.

The process here seems unremarkable, and patents aside, a designer should be familiar with other products in the category. I don’t really see anything here “restrictive” or unusual or much in a “work around”…

This is design 101 and bread a butter for a footwear designer given that patterns and function are generally what we do when the overall shape is determined by the shape of the foot.

I’m more wondering why this is an article, when the patent infringer and designers it is about look bad.