Outlier Patent Attorneys

Design Patents – U.S. Patent Procurement (Application Drafting & Prosecution)


What is a Design Patent?

A design patent is a type of intellectual property that protects the visual ornamental characteristics of an article. It gives the owner exclusive rights to their invention’s overall appearance and design for 14 years from the date of issuance. It does not cover functionality or utility (for which you would need a utility patent), but rather focuses on protecting the aesthetics and look of the invention.

When Do I Need a Design Patent?

If you want to protect the overall visual appearance of your invention, then you should seek out a design patent. This could include features such as shape, configuration, surface ornamentation, color, and texture. Keep in mind that it must be novel and non-obvious in order for your application to succeed. But, it doesn’t have to be completely original–meaning similar designs may exist.

What Are The Elements Of A Good Design Patent Application?

In order for your application to have a good chance at being successful, make sure it contains all of these elements: drawings/illustrations; specification (including title), claim(s), oath or declaration, information disclosure statement, and fee(s). [You can find the official USPTO list here]. You should also make sure that your drawings are accurate representations of what will be manufactured, and that it is well detailed enough so that someone else looking at them can easily understand the invention without any prior knowledge. Lastly, keep in mind that design patents only cover products (not services) and must be filed in each country where protection is desired.

What's The Difference Between A Design Patent And Utility Patent?

There are several key differences between design patents and utility patents including scope of protection (utility covers function while design covers aesthetics), cost (utility tends to be more expensive), how long they last (utility lasts up to 20 years while design lasts up to 14 years), and filing requirements (utility requires more paperwork than design). Additionally, utility patents can be granted for both products and services while design patents are only granted for products. Another difference is that utility patents require inventors to prove their idea is novel and non-obvious, while this requirement isn't necessary for obtaining a design patent.

How Much Does A Design Patent Cost?

The cost of getting a design patent can vary depending on factors such as complexity of your invention and whether or not you hire an attorney/agent to help with filing process. Generally speaking, expect $2-$4k if you decide to work with an attorney, or $500-$1000 if you decide not go with an attorney/agent but instead file pro se using USPTO filing forms.

In Conclusion

Obtaining a design patent can help protect your unique product designs from unauthorized use by competitors or others who may try to copy them without permission. While there are many similarities between obtaining a utility patent versus obtaining a design patent—including costs—there are also some key differences that entrepreneurs should keep in mind before deciding which one best suits their needs. If you’re unsure which type of patent protection is right for your business, consider consulting with an experienced patent attorney who can assess your situation and provide guidance on moving forward with either option.