Every designer is violating this patent!

Every industrial designers is violating this patent of design process – how this patent could have every been granted is a good example of a failing patent system.

US 7,031,888 B2 April 18, 2006
A method for the development of a design in which design decisions are shaped in part by the conscious and subconscious thoughts of future users of an designed object or occupants of a designed space. Future users or occupants are preferably interviewed by a metaphor elicitation technique to ascertain their thoughts, feelings, and emotions about the specific kind of design under consideration. The data obtained concerning deep metaphors may then be analyzed through use of a deep design filter that breaks down metaphors into relevant dimensions and activating cues. The information regarding wants and needs of users or occupants is next prioritized and translated into a series of design objectives through interactive sessions among designers and with the individuals interacting with the design. Finally, the design objectives are evaluated, refined, and implemented in creating the design for the product or building. The methods are particularly useful for developing architectural designs.


I guess when you know who’s pockets to line, you can get just about anything these days.


I skimmed through the claims and it appears to be some kind of patent for analyzing human factors to create physical parameters for a design. If so, this is somewhat in the public domain and should be invalidated by the other big design firms… like IDEO for example. For some reason, the AIA believes this is “ground-breaking.” I wonder if the members of the AIA are going to be forced to pay royalties to one of their own.


The attorneys I’ve worked with as an expert witness in patent infringement cases have all agreed on one thing: unless there is extremely compelling prior art, the patent office takes the approach of granting questionable patents and letting the ultimate validity be decided through litigation. It makes their work much easier and faster. Your tax dollars at work. It keeps the lawyers busy and wealthy, too.

The whole system is in need of an overhaul. For example, look at patent drawings sometime and explain to me why they still look the way they did in the early 1900s. Between photography and digital imaging techniques doesn’t it seem like there’s a better way to generate the illustrations that are part of patent applications than to have someone with pen, ink and a knowledge of archaic conventions for representation doing them?

Why not a 3D file for patents? Why a drawing at all?

I’ve done a few design patent drawings. Ugh, they are ugly.

I think it is like why medical books use drawings. To make is super clear. this way there is not fuzziness. Patents are now made to be fuzzy so we should overhaul the system. I think back to writing contracts and how the whole point is to make everything very clear to everybody involved.

Patents, contracts and the like are design to CYA…(cover your a$$). nothing more. hence the “fuzziness”, (easier to defend if you are less specific). i do agree wholeheartedly however that the US system (not so much the european one) is broken and too much weight is put on litigation and defense rather than claims and validity.


ding ding ding…give the guy a cookie…right on

hey let them sue for using drug induced dreaming…me and 1/3 of the population…

The question still stands, why are the patent illustrations so fugly?

Every notice that the accompanying text with the illustrations looks the same as well?


Because the patent office sets the standards for the conventions used in illustration and the government doesn’t change unless they shouldn’t.

I’ve often wondered whether the lawyers lobby to keep the standards as they are because then you have to use someone who specializes in patent illustration. Where do you find a patent illustrator? Your friendly patent attorney tells you he’ll take care of it and then adds his usual “modest” markup. Bend over!