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A Complete Guide to Design Patents

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2023 | Patent Law

Knowing whether you should obtain a design patent is important. A design patent can give you a legal claim to protect your original design if you are an innovator. It also allows you to use and sell your design exclusively. Design patents give their creators the right to profit from the unique look of the object. You will need to file a design patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to obtain a design patent. 

Successfully applying for and defending your design patent can be challenging, and working with an experienced attorney is beneficial. The intellectual property attorneys atAU LLC have helped thousands of innovators across the country and internationally protect their designs with design patents.

Is a Design Patent or a Utility Patent Right for You?

A design patent aims to protect a specific invention’s ornamental appearance. The focus of design patents is on the visually unique features of your product. If you want to stop other individuals or businesses from selling copycat and knockoff versions of products that look similar to your product, a design patent is right for you.

Many people pursue a design patent because the process can be more affordable and quicker than obtaining a utility patent. However, a utility patent may be the best option if you are attempting to protect how your invention works. Additionally, protection from a design patent is more limited than from a utility patent. A design patent might be more beneficial if you were trying to protect an object you designed or manufactured.

A utility patent is more appropriate if you are trying to protect the process related to how the object works. Additionally, if the product’s appearance is an important and integral aspect of its uniqueness, a design patent can protect its appearance from being stolen or copied. If the product is aesthetically oriented and functional, applying for a design and utility patent for the same object can help you protect its appearance and functionality.

Legal Protections Available From a Design Patent

After you obtain a design patent, you have the legal right to protect its concept from being copied, used, or modified for 14 years. During the 14 years, you won’t have to pay any fees to maintain your design patent. You will have the legal right to pursue a legal claim in court against any individual or group that attempts to use your design or an integral aspect of it. A design patent is also important if you decide to sell, manufacture, or distribute any objects that use your planted design.

Submitting a Comprehensive Design Patent Application

The design patent application needs to include multiple components to be successful. Although design pants are relatively easy to obtain, the application process can be complicated. You have the right to file a design patent application on your own, but you will have to spend a significant amount of time researching and completing all the paperwork for your application. Working with an attorney can help you save time, avoid mistakes that could result in more expenses, and set the application process back. When completing the application, you will need to include multiple elements, such as:

  • A basic introduction
  • References to any related patent applications
  • Information on any funding you have received
  • A high-quality drawing or depiction of the exact appearance of your design
  • A written description of the photographs or images you include in the application

Your Application Must Include Photos or Drawings of Your Design

After submitting your application, the photos you include cannot be changed or exchanged with different photos in the future. It’s crucial that you include enough detailed information and clear photographs of your design in your initial application. Doing so will help you should you need to enforce your rights against copycats.

An attorney can help you write descriptions of your design that are specific and effective in describing the unique aspects of your design. When you submit your application, you must include an oath swearing that the design belongs to you. You also need to include all of the required supplemental documentation and fees, which may include filing fees, search fees, and examination fees.

Detailing the Specifics of Your Design When Filing for a Design Patent

Technically, applicants do not have to draw their designs but probably will not successfully obtain a patent without including a drawing. The drawing is more important than any other part of the application. Including reproductions of your unique design in the form of drawings, photographs, blueprints, graphics, and other images is an important aspect of your application.

The attorneys atAU LLC have the resources and professional network to work with a professional patent artist who can help your application by creating complete, accurate drawings of your design. These drawings can render the exact appearance of your object. The more detailed the pictures and designs in your application, the easier it will be to prove infringement of your design future.

How Long Does the Process Take?

You can file a patent application claim as a designer at any point. However, the sooner you apply, the better. The amount of time it will take you to finalize your application depends on the specific facts of your case. Generally, the average time to obtain a first design patent is around 16 months. After the initial review, you may need time to respond to any required office actions. Working with an experienced attorney helps you expedite the process.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

We recommend discussing your case with an attorney if you consider applying for a design patent. Whether you should use it depends on the novelty of your product’s appearance and significance. Filing a utility patent application may be more beneficial.

Whether you would like to discuss applying or need to enforce your design patent rights,AU LLC is here to help. Contact our nationwide intellectual property attorneys at AU LLC today to schedule your initial consultation and learn more about how we can protect you and your rights.

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