Smart companies protect their concepts and designs with robust portfolios that include design and utility patents.  Most companies protect the ornamental appearances of functional items via Design Patents and functional qualities via Utility Patents. Sometimes, however, a good collection of design patents can be a powerful mechanism to protect concepts and designs that surround a product.  Patents help guard exclusivity and add value to businesses.

One randomly selected company we came across that we’re impressed with is Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (“Build-A-Bear”).  They have assembled an intelligent array of design patents. The teddy bear and stuffed animal retailer has obtained several design patents that cover elements about how the products are displayed and manufactured.  For example:  Display facade, Patent number: D445278; Novelty bath tub, Patent number: D413280; Display facade, Patent number: D414814; Spool configured storage barrel, Patent number: D423218; Stuffing machine, Patent number: D427209; Store fixture, Patent number: D431933.  Undoubtedly, these patents add value to the business.

The more patents a business has, the more formidable they are as market competitors.  A good patent portfolio will endeavor to protect not just core products, but also consider horizontal and vertical aspects of overall production and marketing—the systems it takes to get a product to market, and even how the product may be displayed. Of course, a good brand will also be covered by trademarks and trade dress protections, but a company should always be creatively assessing ways to protect its concepts with intellectual property rights.

©2016.  Article by Scott Compton, J.D. and John Buche, J.D.  The firm of Buche & Associates, P.C. specializes in protecting business IP rights, both through acquisition of rights, licensing, and litigation of disputes.  If you have an IP matter you would like to discuss, contact

Patent Attorney in San Diego