Design Patent

What Protection Does a Design Patent Provide?

Not all innovations have a utility – some are just unique in design. Those designs can be protected by a Design Patent.

From physical products to computer user interfaces and even clothing – a Design Patent protects the aesthetic qualities (the look) of your product from substantially similar variations.

Just having the term “Patented” on your product creates a substantial deterrent to competitors who would otherwise copy your creativity.

Easy and Inexpensive

Design Patents are relatively inexpensive and quick to obtain in comparison to other patents.

The Limits of a Design Patent

Unlike Utility Patents, which protect function, Design Patents only protect the look. The level of protection is therefore limited to non-functional aesthetics.

The Responsibility of Policing the Competition

After registration, you are responsible for policing your competitors and enforcing your rights

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Frequently Asked Questions

Any person who has invented or discovered a new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter may obtain a patent for it. This also includes any new or useful improvement on a past invention. Laws of nature and theories are not patentable. This requirement is outlined in title 35 of the United Stated Code, Section 101 (abbreviated as 35 U.S.C. 101). You do not need to have actually constructed or used your invention to get a patent on it. Having a good idea of how your invention is made and used is sufficient.

A Design Patent will protect your design and any “substantial similar” designs like it for 15 years.

If you don’t file a U.S. Patent Application within 12 months of public disclosure (such as sharing your idea with others) or within 12 months of offering your invention for sale to the public, you lose your patent rights. Even still, the longer you wait, the greater the risk of someone else filing a Patent Application for the idea you came up with first.

Important Note: Although the U.S. gives you a 12 month “grace” period to file a Patent Application after your first public disclosure, most other countries in the world do not. This means, in those countries, you will have lost your patent rights if you’ve made a public disclosure before filing the U.S. Patent Application.

Patent Resources

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