Sharidan Stiles was selling her Stiles Razor, a disposable razor with a narrow blade, through Walmart. But the sales of her product were allegedly not meeting Walmart’s expectations. Walmart stopped selling Stiles Razor and began selling another narrow blade razor, the “Micro Razor,” provided by American International Industries. Silts sued Walmart and American for design patent infringement, among other claims.
Below are figures from the U.S. Design Patent D542,468 and photos of the accused Miro Razor.
The commonalities of a narrowed and angled head, a elongated handle, and a gripping surface, are factored out as functional. That leaves the ornamental aspects, about which the court says differ on the whole:
“First, the grip: in the American design, the grip is much wider than the handle, but in only one dimension, and the bulge has a diamond-like shape. In the Stiles design, by contrast, the grip is a cylinder with a constant radius, as described above. The American grip is also contoured and textured, whereas the Stiles grip is angular and smooth. Second, the end of the handle: the American design is rounded; the Stiles design is flat. Overall, these and other features give the American razor a flowing, contoured look and the Stiles Razor an angular, minimalistic look.”
Therefore, the court found that the Micro Razor did not infringe the patent.
Case: Stiles v. Walmart, Inc., No. 2:14-cv-02234-DAD-DMC, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203768 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 7, 2022)