IP360 commissioned Rick to write an article about U.S. design law, which is best described as an awkward patchwork, through the lens of Texas antitrust case, of all things. That case involves traffic barriers and the Texas’ decision to require little V-cuts where the barriers meet. Both the plaintiff and the defendant manufacture traffic barriers. When the plaintiff complied with this requirement, the defendant accused it of infringing its trade dress in those V-cuts. At first blush, this is contradictory because trade dress shouldn’t cover anything that’s functional. The plaintiff suspects the defendant convinced Texas to adopt the V-cuts as a means of gaining a monopoly over traffic barriers in Texas. But the defendant has the First Amendment right to petition government on its side. Read all about it, Trademark Case at the Intersection of Antitrust and Design Law (subscription required).

Rick Sanders

Rick is the litigation half of Aaron & Sanders, PLLC; and, from 2012 to 2014, an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School, where he was teaching Copyright Law. Vandy also happens to be where he got his law degree in 2000. After graduation, he practiced at a major intellectual-property law firm in Silicon Valley for a few years. He returned to Nashville in 2004, where he worked for a large Nashville firm, practicing as much intellectual-property law as he could, but also a lot of commercial law. He left that firm in 2011 to start Aaron & Sanders with Tara Aaron, so he could practice intellectual-property law full time and work with start-ups and other non-institutional clients.