Young v. Stone, No. 13 C 4920, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 28, 2014) (Guzman, J.). Judge Guzman granted defendant’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c) motion to dismiss plaintiff’s design patent infringement claim regarding defendant’s Putt-A-Round golf practice target.  The patented design and the accused golf practice target are depicted below: The Court held that the parallel disks were functional as was the pole separating the disks.  The ornamental features were the differing mechanisms that trapped the golf balls, and the extended flagpole.  The Court held that the products were different as follows:

  • The mechanisms used to trap the balls were different. Defendant used an incline that directed the ball up and to the center. Plaintiff used a washer around the center column that held the ball.
  • The feet and prominent bolt on the bottom of defendant’s base was also sufficiently different.
  • There were also differences in the flag placement and the top of the pole.