Expert Design Witness 101

by Cooper C. Woodring, FIDSA


Book Details

“It is hard to imagine an industrial designer who has made a greater impact on U.S. design patent litigation than Cooper Woodring. For nearly three decades, Cooper has epitomized the “Gold Standard” for design experts in intellectual property cases. When Cooper steps in the courtroom, judges and juries alike instantly recognize that he has not only deep command of the subject matter (both design and design law), but also an abundance of credibility. Expert Witness 101 continues this excellence. This informative and entertaining book is a “must-read” for aspiring, and even seasoned, design experts in intellectual property cases.”
—Christopher V. Carani, Esq., Partner, Intellectual Property Litigator, McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd.

Most expert design witnesses are industrial designers with a degree in industrial design, which is surprisingly found in the School of Fine Arts at most universities.

Nefarious copycats steal the award-winning patented designs of our best industrial designers. Unfortunately, the United States Patent and Trademark Office doesn’t send out the patent police to arrest the copycat. Instead, an expert design witness goes to court to explain to the jury—and surprisingly often to the judge—how close is too close in overall appearance between the patented and accused designs to find infringement.

Prior to court, the design expert will write an infringement report; if retained by the plaintiff, usually a rebuttal report to rebut the defendant’s noninfringement report; will have their deposition taken; and will then testify in some federal court over a several day period.

The work is intellectually stimulating, challenging, often requires simplifying and articulating complex issues, is surprisingly creative, and is ridiculously profitable by the standards of most industrial designer’s salaries for doing product design work.


About the Author

Cooper C. Woodring, FIDSA

Cooper Woodring is a former president of the Industrial Designers Society of America. Woodring spent a majority of his career as manager of product design and new product development for JCPenney, at that time America’s third largest retailer. President Reagan appointed Woodring to head the United States Information Agency’s Cultural Exchange Mission titled “Design in America” behind the then Iron Curtain. Cooper was an invited presenter at the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s first “Design Day” in 2006 and again in 2010 and 2015. Cooper lives in Wakefield, Rhode Island (the Ocean State), and loves boating and being near the water, in spite of giving up his Grand Banks due to getting older.