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Leveraging Design Patents to Protect Graphical User Interfaces

Protecting the "Look and Feel" of GUIs, Understanding Current U.S. and Global Prosecution Practices

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, June 6, 2024

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will guide IP counsel on protecting graphical user interface (GUI) in the U.S. and worldwide. The panel will examine the advantages of design patent protection over other forms of IP and offer best practices for obtaining meaningful design protection for GUI.


The use of GUI--the icons and visual indicators used to control electronic devices, phones, ATMs, computers, and other technology--to interface with users directly is now ubiquitous. As a result, GUIs have become a crucial representation of companies and their brands (remember the smartphone wars?).

In addition, given the difficulties that companies face protecting software by utility patent and the limitations on protecting GUI with trademark and copyright, design patents are becoming the "go-to" solution for safeguarding GUI from being copied or imitated.

In November 2023, the USPTO published supplemental guidance for determining whether a design claim including a computer-generated electronic image, including GUIs, is directed to statutory subject matter. This guidance provides clarification on meeting the article of manufacture requirement. Not every country provides protection for GUI designs, or if they do, the protection is limited. More importantly, with the advent of augmented reality and virtual reality, even countries that protect GUI are grappling with the challenges of protecting a GUI that is not projected on a traditional computer screen.

Listen as our authoritative panel of patent attorneys discusses best practices for protecting GUIs in the U.S. and globally, including an update on recent cases involving claims of infringement of design patents for GUI designs.



  1. A brief overview of U.S. design patents
  2. Current trends in user experience
  3. The legal context for GUI design protection in the U.S.
  4. Examples of U.S. GUI design patents
  5. Advantages of design patents over trademark and copyright in the U.S.
  6. Global protection strategy: obtaining design patent protection for GUIs outside the U.S.
  7. Enforcement of GUI design rights in the U.S. and abroad
  8. Protection of designs used in augmented reality and virtual reality


The panel will review these and other critical issues:

  • Best practices for the protection of GUIs in the U.S. and globally
  • Update on recent cases involving claims of infringement of design patents for GUI designs
  • Protection for user interface designs of the future


Durkin, Tracy-Gene
Tracy-Gene Durkin

Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox

Ms. Durkin heads the firm’s Mechanical and Design Patent Group. With nearly 30 years of experience obtaining...  |  Read More

Katz, Robert
Robert S. Katz

Principal Shareholder
Banner Witcoff

Both nationally and internationally, Mr. Katz is considered one of the premier practitioners in the field of industrial...  |  Read More

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