Design Patents 101 – Introduction


Design patents as the name suggests are legal protection of the ornamental design, characteristics, and configuration of a utility article. In other words, it is known as an industrial design right.  It does not include a listing of any structure or any textual description of the design. Instead, it simply protects the design of the product.

Salient features of design patents

There are some of the requirements for the intellectual property must possess to qualify for a design patent. The major ones are-

  • It does not focus on the structural or utilitarian features of the product.
  • It gives a visual description of the product.
  • Moreover, design patent doesn’t protect invisible ornamental features.
  • Design patents issued for utility-based items protect only the visible ornamental features of that product.
  • Also, design patents are subject to examination under the USPTO, which includes prior-art search.
  • It is valid for a period of 14 years if filed before May 13, 2015, and for 15 years if filed on or after May 13, 2015.

Factors to consider before filing the Design Patent Application:

There are some requirements for design in an IP to qualify for a patent grant. Here are some points that are a must while filing a design patent:

  • Clear subject: it is relevant to quote aesthetic skill and artistic conception.
  • Possess innovation: a completely innovative and novel design only gets the award of patent grant.
  • Follow standards: it must satisfy ornamental standards.
  • Possess un-obviousness: it is un-obvious and doesn’t come up as prior art.
  • Double-patenting: you can obtain a design as well as a utility patent for the same invention at the same time by filing a divisional application.
  • Copyright: it is possible to take copyright for the same product if it qualifies as a work of art.
  • Trademark: if the design is an embodiment of an article, one can get a trademark for it.
  • Appropriate Patent Search: a thorough patent search before application filing avoids future infringements and application rejection.

Core Elements of Design Patent Application

The core elements of design patent applications are:

  • Preamble, applicant first name, design title, description of nature, and its usage where the design is present.
  • Cross-reference of related applications
  • Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development.
  • Figure description.
  • Strictly a single claim.
  • Drawings and photographs
  • Oath and declaration.

In addition, pay a filing fee, search fee, and examination fee. Small business entities and independent inventors get the advantage of fee concession (fee reduced to half).

You might also want to know more about industrial designs. If so, you will get all the information on what are industrial designs and how to protect them here.

Importance of design patents:

Protection of designs is important because it protects the inventor’s right or claim for the invented design. Also, it restricts other individuals, companies, or businesses to take advantage of the product by copying and/or modifying the design. By securing the inventor’s right, the market regulates the continuous flow of inventions, by giving the inventors, their safety right against infringement.

Design is an important part of a brand that represents employee skills and offers a stand in the market. High-end fashion designers could lose millions of dollars in revenue without design protection because anyone else can create the same aesthetic.

Want to have a look at our design patent search samples. You can avail them free from here!

To conclude, design patents protect intellectual property by protecting the appearance of the invented product. Since design patent costs significantly less amount as compared to the utility patents, some patent attorneys recommend filing design patents while filing a utility patent.

What do we bring to your service?

We, at the patent search firm, with 8+ years in business bring the best research services at your end for getting and maintaining the patent right for your intellectual property. Our experts’ help you out with quick prior art search services for your design patents. We provide both pre-grant and post-grant search services to protect your invention from infringement. Also, we expand our horizon of patent searches by looking into the scientific literature, journal articles, conference papers, and TKDL library. Experts at TPSF know no language boundaries and provide our services in 16+ languages covering 100+ countries. To know more about our services, do visit The Patent Search Firm.

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