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Protect Your Design With A Design Patent

Have you created something completely new, that looks and/or feels really cool, or serves a valuable new function solely due to its design? If so, you should seek a design patent.

What Is A Design Patent?

A Design patent is the assignment of legal intellectual property rights covering the ornamental nature of an invention. When considering the concepts of form vs function, a design patent is entirely concerned with the element of form. Design patents apply to how something looks. The purpose of design patent is to create a monopoly over the physical design of an object. The application of a design patent is quite limited, yet ingeniously fitting to improvements in physical design.

What Would Be An Example Of When A Design Patent Is Appropriate?

For example, if you were to create a new design for a coffee mug and you felt that the design had value, you could seek a design patent. By filing a design patent you would not be attempting to claim that you were the inventor of coffee mugs, but rather that you were seeking a monopoly on this specific design of coffee mug.

Utility Patent vs Design Patent

Most patents are utility patents. In the distinction between form vs function, a utility patent would be concerned with the elements of function. A utility patent is appropriate when you create something new an are seeking intellectual property rights over what something does or how it does it. For example, in the above coffee mug example, if you were to create a new material that had not previously existed and wanted to use that material to make coffee cups, then a utility patent on the material would be appropriate. Or, if you created a new process for making coffee cups, then you could seek a patent on that process.

Describe The Design Patent Application Process

When seeking a design patent with the help of Genius Patent we would begin with a thorough interview where an agent/patent attorney would discuss your invention with you to collect all of the information necessary to create a complete design patent application draft. This would include drawings to illustrate your invention and provide perspective from all of the various angles. With a design patent we will work with a highly specialized draftsman because of the strict formatting requirement for the design patent application. We will also create written descriptions that provide specific information to ensure that the unique aspects of your invention are made clear.

Once you submit the application, it will typically take 1-3 years before the USPTO conducts their own search to verify patentability. Then you will get a notice of allowance from the USPTO, pay the fees and the patent will issue. If there is a rejection or some issue with the application for a design patent, you cannot amend the claims and re-submit based on the same application because the drawing really are the basis for your claim. Therefore if you cannot argue with the examiner and get them to understand the differences between your invention and prior art, then you may have no other options. You may find that you can alter your design in some way and try again, however that is essentially starting over with a new design, drafting a new application and a new filing.

When Should I Seek A Design Patent?

You should begin the process of applying for a design patent as soon as you create a new design for an item that you feel is valuable. It is important to claim your initial filing date as soon as possible. However, provisional patents are not available for design patents. Therefore, a complete design patent application is needed. Most importantly, the United States is now a “first to file” country, which means that before you begin showing or selling the idea, you should seek to file a patent to secure your filing date. If you don’t and someone else who hears about or sees your idea, decides to file a the patent application first, then they would be able to effectively and legally take your idea.

What Intellectual Property Rights and Protections Does A Design Patent Provide?

A design patent will give you the right to a monopoly over your patented design. This means that no one else would be able to make or sell your patented design without your permission. If you learned of someone making or selling your design you would be able to notify them of your patent and demand that they stop. You could also pursue them legally and be entitled to compensatory damages. Having a design patent would allow you to make and sell your invention without the burden of competition. You could also license your patent to a competitor for a fee, thus creating an additional channel for monetizing your intellectual property.

Design Patent Cost

Service Genius Patent Fee USPTO Small Entity Fee USPTO Micro Entity Fee
Design Patent Application (Standard) $1,500 $380 $190