Los Angeles, CA asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California

Q: Is it possible to patent the concept of a (Latin/Christian) cross being a zipper puller? Has it been done?

Unsure if custom fashion hardware can be patented , unsure if custom zipper pullers can be patented, unsure if religious symbols can be patented.

2 Lawyer Answers

Camille Brooks Ibrahim

  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Washington, DC

A: Custom zippers can be patented as far as religious symbols it depends on a few factors.

Kevin E. Flynn

  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: There are different types of patents. The design patent which covers the ornamental appearance of an item would be the right fit. This would keep others from selling a zipper with a zipper pull that is close in appearance to your zipper pull. See an example of a design patent for a zipper pull here -- https://patents.google.com/patent/USD482987S1/en?q=zipper&type=DESIGN.

I am not aware of any special rules with respect to religious symbols for design patents. Note that to the extent that the shape is a common one that has been used for many objects, then you may have a more difficult time obtaining a patent or obtaining broad coverage.

You can search for zipper puller design patents at Google patents. Searching for design patents using a text search is hard as there is not much text so you may want to get a patent attorney to help with the search. Or you can do a partial search using Google Patents and take your chances.

For more information on design patents -- see https://www.flynniplaw.com/services/legal-services/united-states-design-patents .

I hope this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

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