Getting a patent on a design is easier than you might think. In most cases, all it takes is submitting a design patent application. The application includes a figure description and an oath or declaration. This will give you exclusive rights over your design and allow you to sue anyone attempting to profit from it without your permission.
Furthermore, a design’s patent is cheaper and easier to obtain than a utility patent’s. If you’re thinking of getting a design patent, there are some things you should know before you begin. This article will explain how to get a design patent, which you should file for, and what you should do to prepare it. Here are the steps to take to get a design patent. You must also know the difference between utility and design patents. Moreover, if you plan to do it yourself, you’ll need to choose carefully.
What Is a Design Patent?
A design’s patent gives you legal claim to your original design, the ability to use and sell it, and the right to profit from the unique look of an object. If you want to patent a design’s, you can file a Design’s Patent Application with the United States Patent’s and Trademark Office (USPTO). Design patents only protect the look of an object. They aren’t the same as utility patents, which cover how objects work and how they’re used. A design has to meet some basic requirements to qualify for a patent’s:
- It doesn’t affect the function of an object.
- It is integral to an object and can’t be removed.
How to Patent a Design:
Decide whether to hire a design’s patent attorney. If you don’t have time to thoroughly research design patents or prepare your application, hire an attorney. Be sure to sign a power of attorney document.
Complete a patent search. Do a patent’s search to determine if a similar design’s already exists. Include a discussion of your research in your application.
File a design’s patent application with the USPTO. If you’re looking for a premade application form for a design’s patent, you won’t find any. But you can still make your own application. It is a good idea to look at a few issued patent designs before you file. This will help you get a good idea of what yours should look like.
Work closely with your patent examiner. When the USPTO receives your application, they will send you a notice that includes a filing date. If your application is allowed, a patent examiner will describe how to complete the process and receive your patent. When you contact a patent examiner, be sure to include your application number, group art unit number, filing date, examiner name, and invention title.
Amend or appeal your application if necessary. You have a small window to reply to a rejected application. If your application isn’t approved, modify the contents or argue its merits. If you receive a second, or final, rejection, you can appeal the decision to the Board of Patent Appeals and Inferences.
To file a patent application, you’ll need the following items:
Abstract or “Preamble.”
This is a short introduction to the design.
Choose a straightforward title for your design.
Describe the design and its features in detail. In addition, include background information and any explanations related to the drawing. Provide cross-references and research to support your application.
Design’s patent applications can include one claim only.
You’ll need to submit at least seven illustrations of your design. Include a 3-D view as well as views of the front, back, right and left sides, top, and bottom. Use surface shading to show contours. Broken lines should represent non-claimed design elements. You can include drawings or photographs but not both. If you use color illustrations, a relevant petition must be included.
- Figure Descriptions.
- Label each illustration and include a description.
- Oath or Declaration. This confirms your identity.
- Application Data Sheet. This includes bibliographical information about you.
- Design’s Patent Application Transmittal.
- Fee Transmittal.
Why Are Design Patents Important?
Design patents give you the exclusive right to profit from your design. They also enable you to legally prosecute an individual or business that attempts to profit from your design without your consent.
Reasons to Consider Patenting a Design
If the look of your product is unique, filing a design patent might be in your best interest. Here’s why:
- Design patents are relatively easy to get.
- They are less expensive and easier to receive than utility patents.
- They are becoming easier to enforce. In recent years, design patents have increased in their importance. For example, in Egyptian Goddess, Inc. v. Swisa, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit adopted an “ordinary observer test.” To enforce a design patent, a jury simply has to compare a design patent with an infringing object.
- They offer complete intellectual property coverage. Many inventors apply for both design and utility patents. If the function and look of your invention are unique, applying for both gives you complete coverage. This is especially true for technology. For instance, a number of patents protect the function and appearance of Apple’s iPhone.
Reasons to Consider Not Patenting a Design
A design patent isn’t always the right way to protect your intellectual property. Before applying, it is important to understand what makes a design unpatentable:
- The design is already in use.
- The design has already been patented.
- The applicant didn’t invent the design.
- The look isn’t unique. Does your invention do something unique but the design isn’t anything new? You should consider filing a utility patent application instead.
- You need to protect a unique artwork or a logo. Patents cover object design. They don’t include artwork, symbols, or logos. File for copyright or trademark coverage to protect these items.
- You need to protect an industrial design. The United States doesn’t offer separate protection for industrial designs but does participate in the Hague System. Therefore, if you need to protect an industrial design in Europe, this could be a smart solution for you.
There is no deadline for filing a design patent application. However, you should file it as soon as possible to protect your rights. The USPTO can take several months or even years to approve a patent application.
How Can I Protect My Design Ideas?
If you are developing unique designs that you plan to sell, ask any potential partners to sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement. Provisional patents only apply to functions, not to design ideas. Therefore, you can’t apply for a patent while perfecting your design. If you are working for a company or licensing your design, you will need to sign an assignment form. This will give the ownership of the design patent to the company you are working with.
Can I File a Design Patent Application Myself?
Yes, you can file a design patent application as an individual or as a business. Doing so might help you save money, since you won’t have to pay legal fees. Be aware that if you file an application yourself, you might have to spend many hours researching and completing paperwork.
Tips for Writing Your Design Patent Application
When writing your design patent application, you will need to be able to prove that your design will qualify under patent protection. It is important to remember that the design patent does not protect the actual invention itself, but the way that the invention looks. This can include such things as shapes, patterns, and ornamentation. If you are unsure whether your design could be subject to patent protection, you can look up the design patent guide on the USPTO website.
You will also need to complete the application data sheet, which will give the basic description and information about both the design and the invention it was created for. You can download a copy of the application data sheet from the USPTO website. Aside from the application data sheet, the application for a design patent will not be a specific form. Instead, you will need to follow the formatting guidelines that the USPTO has laid out.
When Should I Hire a Patent Attorney:
If you have a more complex design and need a good patent, it is better to hire an attorney. An experienced patent attorney can help you build a better case for your design. This may include showing how different design parts relate and why each is unique. This adds value to your patent. It will also give you more control over your design.
Do I Have to Draw My Design:
No, technically you don’t have to draw your design. That said, you probably won’t get a patent if you don’t include a drawing. Design patent applications rely on drawings to show what the design will look like. The drawings matter more than any other part of your application. Depending on your skill level, drawing your own design may not be good enough. You should do whatever you can to make sure it’s a high-quality drawing to increase your chances of getting the patent. Hiring a professional to do the patent drawing for you is often the best option. This usually costs somewhere around $600.
How Many Claims Can My Design Patent Application Have?
Design patent applications can only have one claim. In contrast, utility patent applications can have several.
How Many Design Patents Can I Apply For?
There is no limit to the number of design patents you can apply for. However, if you plan to market several unique designs, a separate application will be required for each patent.
Who Can File a Design Patent Application?
An individual or business can file a design patent application. Further, the applicant can be based anywhere in the world.
Can My Design Patent Be Based on a Registered Community Design?
Yes, your design patent can be based on a European Registered Community Design (RCD). However, you must file the design patent application within six months of the RCD filing date.
Will My Patent Application Be Published?
Your patent application will not be published if it is a design application. Utility patents can be published if they were filed on or after November 29, 2000.
How Long Does the Design Patent Application Process Take?
The application process usually takes 12 to 18 months. You can also try to get foreign priority. You can do this any time after you file for up to six months for design patents and one year for utility patents. This only works in countries that subscribe to the Paris convention.
How Long Does a Design Patent Last?
Design patents last for 14 years from the date of issue. During this time, no one can make the same product or use the same design without your permission.
Obtaining a design patent involves a relatively straightforward process that offers exclusive rights over your design. It is crucial to differentiate between design and utility patents, understand the basic requirements, and determine the significance of your design’s uniqueness. A thorough patent search and the guidance of a design patent attorney can be valuable assets during the application process. While there is no specific deadline for filing, prompt action is advised to protect your rights. By familiarizing yourself with the essential components of the application and carefully adhering to the USPTO guidelines, you can successfully navigate the patent application process and secure legal protection for your innovative designs.