Design Patent: Everything You Need to Know

A design patent is a type of patent that protects the way a manufactured product looks, but doesn't protect the way a product works or the mechanical structure.

A design patent protects the way a manufactured product looks but not the way it works or how it's structured. Businesses can protect their intellectual property (IP) rights over an original design by applying for patent protection. This should be done before entering the market to prevent a competitor from copying and profiting from your design.

When you are granted a design patent, you have the right to exclude others from using this design in personal and commercial applications. A design patent can patent everything from jewelry to packaging.

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Design Patent Eligibility

To be eligible for patent protection, the design must also be useful. A method of creating art, such as a painting or photographic technique, cannot be copyrighted. The design must also be repeatable to qualify for patent protection.

First, you need to consider whether the design is eligible for patent protection. One or both of the following criteria must apply:

The surface of the item has unique ornamentation.

The shape or structure of the object has a unique design, such as the 1998 Apple iMac.

The design must also be:

Completely different from prior art

Not obviously derived from other designs

Visible when the product is engaged in its intended use

Digital design patents cover icons, fonts, and screen layouts for apps and software programs. However, these patents only protect designs when they are displayed on a screen, not in other forms.

Steps to File a Design Patent

Applying for a design patent doesn't take much time as long as you have searched for an existing patent and found a lawyer to help you draft your application. Patent Drawings The USPTO asks for drawings from all sides of the object:







The only exception is when two or more sides look the same.

This part of the application is the drawing disclosure. The drawings should include surface shading which helps show the object's contours. Also, parts of the drawing that don't apply to the patent should have broken, not continuous, lines. Broken lines are most commonly used to show the environment around the design and to define the bounds of the design.

Since these drawings are the most important part of the design patent application, you may want to consider paying a professional around $600 for high-quality drawings.

Patent Claim and Details

Before you fill out your design patent application, title your product. Make the title as specific and descriptive as you can. Most titles have only one or two words that label the design based on consumer words, such as "chair," "wind chime," or "fish tank."

Utility patents need more text than design patents. You need to make a simple claim and state what you have designed. You can also include short statements that help describe sections of your application. Here's an example:

You might describe each drawing view in a few words or use figure descriptions.

Figure descriptions go with your drawings, and they describe what viewers see in the drawings.

You can use words like "Figure 1 is a bottom view of my suspended lampshade design."

You can include a preamble in a design patent. A preamble is a simple statement that says that you're the inventor of the submitted product. Also, write a sentence or phrase that briefly describes the product and how you want it to be used. You'll also need a single claim, another simple statement: "The ornamental design for sandals, as shown and described."

You also need to note any cross-references to patent applications related to your product, unless you already have them in your application. You must also note whether you relied on any federal research or development to create your invention.

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