How To Patent A Product Design?

How To Patent A Product Design?

A design patent is a type of intellectual property right that grants you the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing your design for a limited period of time.

It covers only the appearance of your product, not its functionality or structure.

In this article, I will explain how to patent a product design in the United States, and what you need to know before you apply.

How To Patent A Product Design?Courtesy:World Trademark Review
How To Patent A Product Design?
Courtesy:World Trademark Review

What is a Design Patent?

A design patent is a legal document that protects the ornamental features of your product, such as its shape, configuration, pattern, or color.

It does not protect the way your product works, or the materials it is made of.

For example, you can get a design patent for a new shape of a bottle, but not for the liquid inside it.

A design patent is different from a utility patent, which covers the functional aspects of your invention, such as a new process, machine, or composition of matter.

You can apply for both types of patents if your product has both ornamental and functional features.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a design patent lasts for 15 years from the date of grant, and no maintenance fees are required.

It gives you the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling, or importing your design, or any product that is substantially similar to your design, without your permission.

If someone infringes your design patent, you can sue them for damages and seek an injunction to stop them from further infringement.

How to Apply for a Design Patent

The process of applying for a design patent can be complex and time-consuming, but it can also be rewarding and beneficial for your product and your business.

Here are the steps you need to follow to patent your product design:

  1. Hire an experienced patent attorney. A patent attorney can help you with preparing and filing your design patent application, conducting a patentability search, responding to office actions, and enforcing your patent rights. You can find a registered patent attorney on the USPTO website.
  2. Determine whether you should consider a design patent, a utility patent, or both. Depending on the nature and features of your product, you may want to apply for one or both types of patents.
  3. Work with your patent attorney to conduct a patentability search. A patentability search is a search of the prior art, which includes any existing patents, publications, or products that are relevant to your design.
  4. File your design patent application with the USPTO. A design patent application consists of the following elements: a preamble, a cross-reference to related applications, a statement regarding federally sponsored research or development, a description of the figure or figures of the drawing, a feature description, a single claim, drawings or photographs, an executed oath or declaration, and the required fees.
  5. Respond to office actions by set deadlines. After you file your design patent application, it will be assigned to a patent examiner, who will examine your application and compare it to the prior art. The patent examiner may issue an office action, which is a written communication that states the status of your application and any objections or rejections that the examiner has.

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