Saint Laurent has been awarded three new design patents this week. On the heels of being granted protection for its Janis heels in September, the Paris-based design house can add three new handbag designs to its collection of patents. The newly-protected bags: its Monogram Envelope Chain Bag, Classic Monogram Shopping Bag, and Moujik tote.
According to the respective patent applications, which Yves Saint Laurent filed in May and August 2014, West Hollywood-based Hedi Slimane invented all three designs, and the intellectual property rights have been assigned to Yves Saint Laurent.
In case you’re not familiar, design patents protect the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, a useful article. (Note: copyright and trademark law do not provide protection for useful articles, like garments and accessories, in their entirety. As a result, design patents are the form of intellectual property that tend to provide the most protection for a whole garment or accessory). As a result of the newly granted design patents, YSL the exclusive right to manufacture and sell these designs for a term of 15 years. (Patents issued from design applications filed on or after May 13, 2015 shall be granted for the term of fifteen years from the date of grant. Patents issued from design applications filed before May 13, 2015 shall be granted for the term of fourteen years from the date of grant).
Along with such patent ownership comes the right to prevent and/or stop others from making, using, or selling a product that so resembles the patented product that an "ordinary observer" might purchase the infringing article, thinking it was the patented product. So, don’t expect to see too many similar designs on the market (aka at Zara or Nasty Gal), at least for too long, as YSL can sue in connection with them and the brand’s pursuit of such protection suggests that it very well will file suit when necessary.