Hartco v. Wang
Hartco owns a design patent claiming a "novetly trailer hitchcover featuring a three-bladed marine propeller". Hartco entered into a distributor arrangement with Wang to sell its patented product. Near the end of their distribution agreement, Hartco sought to raise the price by 40%. Wang responded by patenting and selling its own four-bladed marine propeller. Hartco sued for infringement of its design patent, product design trade dress, and product packaging trade dress. The CAFC held that the design patent only covers ornamental features, and the number of blades was an ornamental feature. Further, the CAFC, applying the law of the 5th Circuit, found that a product design may not be inheriently distinctive as a matter of law, and substantial evidence of secondary meaning must be shown to prevail on a claim of trade dress infringement.