A design patent application seeks patent protection for inventive ornamental design embodied in or applied to the object. In other words, this is the appearance and/or look of the design. We offer affordable patent writing and filing services by a USPTO registered patent practitioner. In addition, U.S. & Hague design patents protect an inventive unique design (its appearance/look).
We offer affordable expert design patent application services online for your new inventions following our 5 steps to patent. Our USPTO registered patent practitioner is an online design patenting services specialist. Schedule a free patent consultation to get started. Also, check out our design patent examples.
Design Patents Protect the Appearance of Your Unique DesignCarson Patents®
Understanding Design Patents for Inventions
When it comes to protecting intellectual property, many people are familiar with utility patents. However, another type of patent exists that is specifically designed to protect the aesthetic appearance of an object: the design patent.
A design patent protects the way an article looks (35 U.S.C. 171). In addition, design patents are issued for 15 years from the issue date in the United States. As mentioned above, this means that the inventor will have the right to control the making, using, and selling of their invention for the following 15 years. The following is a brief discussion of the definition and scope of design patents, the key differences between a design patent and a utility patent, the requirements for obtaining a design patent, and the benefits of obtaining a design patent.
Definition and Scope of Design Patents
A design patent is a form of legal protection that provides exclusive rights to the owner of an original and ornamental design for a useful article. The design patent protects the visual characteristics of the object, such as its shape, pattern, and surface ornamentation, rather than its function. The design must meet the usual patentability requirements to be eligible for a patent.
The scope of a design patent is limited to the visual appearance of the object. It does not protect the underlying technology or function of the object, which is covered by a utility patent. For example, a design patent may protect the unique shape and ornamental design of a smartphone case, but not the technology that allows the phone to function.
3 Key Differences Between Design Patents and Utility Patents
- Scope of Protection: The most significant difference between design patents and utility patents is their scope of protection. As mentioned above, design patents protect the aesthetic appearance of an object while utility patents protect the object’s function and technology.
- Application Requirements: The requirements for obtaining a design patent are different from those of a utility patent. To obtain a design patent, the design must meet the patentability requirements just like a utility patent. The design must be patent eligible subject matter, useful, novel, and non-obvious. However, the requirements to submit a complete and proper patent application for a design invention are much simpler and less expensive to get professionally written by a patent attorney.
- Duration: Another important difference is the duration of protection. A design patent is valid for 15 years from the date of grant, while a utility patent is valid for 20 years from the date of filing.
Requirements for Obtaining a Design Patent
The requirements for design patenting are the same as utility patenting. The main difference between obtaining design and utility patents is the specification and drawings. The specification for a design patent application is limited to a brief description of the design, the figures, and only one simple claim for the appearance. Unlike a utility patent that is typically dozens of pages of specification and can have an unlimited number of complex claims.
Also, design and utility patent applications differ in the drawings. While utility patent applications include a wide variety of figures and flowcharts, design applications are usually limited to the usual six orthogonal views (front, back, right, left, top, and bottom) and maybe a perspective view. Design patent drawings can be photos, however, precisely scaled drawings are usually present in the best examples of design patents.
To obtain a design patent, an application must be filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application must include a clear and complete description of the design as well as drawings or photographs that illustrate the design from multiple angles.
Benefits of Obtaining a Design Patent
Obtaining a design patent provides several benefits to the owner. The most obvious benefit is the exclusive right to use and license the design for 15 years. This means that no one else can make, use, or sell the same design without permission from the patent owner. Another benefit is the ability to prevent others from copying or imitating the design. If someone infringes on the design patent, the owner can take legal action to stop the infringement and seek damages.
Importantly, a design patent can be a valuable asset for a business. A unique and visually appealing design can help a product stand out in a crowded market and attract customers. Additionally, a design patent can be licensed or sold to generate revenue for the patent owner.
Design patents offer a unique form of legal protection for the visual appearance of an object. They provide exclusive rights to the owner for 15 years and can be a valuable asset for businesses. Understanding the requirements and benefits of design patents can help inventors and businesses protect their intellectual property and stay ahead of the competition. Read more about the benefits of design patents.
5 Steps to Patent a New Design Invention
- Prior Art Search – design patent search – is it new?
- Patentability Study (Evaluation) – is it patentable?
- Design Patent Application Writing – short description, and good drawings or photos
- Patent Application Filing – submit application – patent pending
- Patent Prosecution – respond to office actions seeking to put the application in a condition for allowance and issue
Our 5 steps to patent for patent applications meets with all of the requirements for either the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), or both. We start with the prior art search to see what is out there now that is similar. The prior art is used to study patentability and determine whether there are allowable claims that we can write for the invention. Only if an invention is patentable do we proceed to writing and filing a patent application. The following patent steps are best for all new inventions.
Carson Patents offers expert patenting services for all types and kinds of patent applications. We offer patent services for non-provisional U.S. design patent applications and/or international (Hague) industrial design applications. We include complete and proper patent drawings when we write and file patent applications. You can find out more information about the specific patent application process by checking out our what to expect in the design patent application process page.
Choosing a Patent Attorney for Design Patent Application Services
Design patents offer a unique form of legal protection for the aesthetic appearance of an object. Obtaining a design patent can be a complex and time-consuming process, which is why many inventors and businesses choose to work with a patent attorney or patent agent. In this section, we explore how to choose a patent attorney for design patent application services to protect your invention.
4 Qualifications to Look for in a Patent Attorney
- First, the attorney should have a technical background or experience in the relevant field of design. This will enable them to understand the nuances of the design and provide effective legal advice.
- Second, the attorney should have a strong track record of success in obtaining design patents for their clients. This can be demonstrated through examples. You can search any of the patent and patent application databases for the name of the patent practitioner and find examples of their work. Check out our design patent examples.
- Third, the attorney should have a deep understanding of the legal framework and procedures related to design patents. They should be able to advise on issues such as patentability, infringement, and licensing.
- Finally, the attorney should have excellent communication skills and be able to work closely with the client throughout the patent application process.
7 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Patent Attorney
- What is your experience in obtaining design patents in my field?
- Can you provide examples of successful design patent applications you have worked on?
- What is your approach to conducting prior art searches?
- How do you advise clients on patentability and infringement issues?
- What is your fee structure for design patent application services?
- How do you communicate with clients throughout the patent application process?
- Have you ever handled a design patent litigation case?
4 Benefits of Using a Patent Attorney for Design Patent Application Services
- First, an experienced attorney can provide valuable insights into the patentability of the design and advise on ways to improve the application.
- Second, the attorney can handle all aspects of the patent application process, including conducting prior art searches, preparing the application, responding to office actions, and communicating with the USPTO.
- Third, an attorney can provide ongoing support and advice on issues such as infringement and licensing. This can help the owner of the design patent maximize its value and prevent unauthorized use.
- Finally, working with a patent attorney can save time and reduce the risk of errors or omissions in the application. This can help ensure that the application is successful and that the owner of the design patent has maximum protection for their intellectual property.
Design Patent Application Costs
Carson Patents‘ fees and do not include the USPTO or WIPO application filing fee which varies by entity status. This type of patent costs less, because they are much simpler to write, file, and prosecute. Read more about how much it costs to patent an invention in our patent costs article.