An Israeli company filed an application for the novel design of a power plug and connector. The product involves three different elements that are fitted without the use of tools.
The application was filed using a 3d illustration of the different elements separately.
In two office actions, the design examiner rejected the application stating that there are 2 different designs (the combined unit and one of the elements) in the application and due to technical problems with the illustration provided.
Applicant argued that the elements are in fact complimentary and cannot be considered alone and that they are sold together as a kit.
Unsuccessful in the attempt to convince the examiner, the applicant had a phone interview with the head of design patents department in which they agreed to divide the application into 3 applications, one for each of the elements.
However, a final rejection was issued.
The applicant at that point changed his argument and stated that the parts are now sold separately and should be considered a “set” design patent.
The commissioner allowed the registration of the original application since there is an ornamental novelty of the combined/assembled product, also stated that although the application include all the elements of the design, those who are functional as well as those which are internal, those are unenforceable and hence irrelevant.
The divisional applications were refused for being functional replacement parts.
This ruling takes the Israeli Design Patent prosecution closer to the European system, which reflects the current Commissioner’s agenda.