On February 13, 2013, Global Allies, LLC brought an infringement action against Charter Furniture Corp. for infringement of U.S. Design Patent No. D622,987. Case No. C-13-0651 (JCS) (N.D. Cal.). A figure from the '897 patent is shown below.
The '897 patent is a reminder that even seemingly utilitarian items, such as "task chairs," can potentially be subject to design patent protection. However, the utilitarian nature of any design might limit the scope of the design patent or, in a worse case scenario for the patentee, render the patent invalid. The innovative designer will work with patent counsel to determine what components can and should be patented. In the mean time, you may want to check if your hotel desk chair is patented!