A Study on the Intellectual Property Protection of Innovative User Experience: Focusing on the Apple-Samsung Intellectual Property Litigation

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The recent jury verdict on Apple-Samsung patent lawsuit reached at the US District Court for the Northern District of California alarmed the IT industry with an impression that the paradigm for global IP litigation is shifting. It is noteworthy that design and trade dress in this case played more significant role than the traditional utility patents applied to the products at issue. By examining the three product value components – function, expression, and identification – and intellectual property devices to protect each value types, we will show that the focus of IP litigations in the IT industry is migrating from functional aspect to expression and brand aspects. Throughout the paper, we will discuss the phenomenon that trade dress, whose protection is in fact perpetual by renewal of registration every other 10 year, is now most favored by global IT industry rather than traditional utility patents whose protection is only for 20 years from the application date. Also we will explore the possibility that the user experience or “look and feel” concept of trade dress might trespass into the territory of utility patent and design patent based on our findings from the jury verdict of the Apple-Samsung litigation. Our ultimate goal throughout the research is to propose the integrated IP management as a viable and practical action guideline for Korean IT companies when they establish R&D strategies and IP prosecution strategies to reduce litigation costs at the US courts and hopefully to appropriate values by adjusting their corporate strategies to this new legal environment of the IT industry.
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Telecommunications Review, v.23, no.1, pp.49 - 63

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