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Design Patent Application
Overview
Design Patents can be a valuable tool for certain types of inventions. If how your invention looks is what is unique about it and makes it valuable (and not necessarily how it works), then a Design Patent may be the best way to go. Once filed, you will be able to mark your invention as "Patent Pending."

For example, consider a common clothing hanger. You have just invented a hanger that has a very sleek design, one that would be used by a top clothing retailer because it looks so stylish. The hanger, however, is used the same way as normal hangers to hang a shirt.

In this example, a Design Patent would be the right choice because we want to specifically protect the way the hanger looks. Trying to protect the hanger with a Utility Patent would not be available because how the hanger works is not new.

Additionally, a Design Patent and a Utility Patent may be obtained for a single product if the way it looks qualifies for a Design Patent and the way it works qualifies for a Utility Patent. For example, say the stylish hanger also has a new functional clasp to hold the clothes on the hanger. This invention could potentially receive a Design Patent on the overall look of the hanger and a Utility Patent on the way the clasp functions.

So a Design Patent is able to protect the unique look of your product even if that is the only thing “new” about it. But it is important to keep in mind that a Design Patent only protects the way your invention looks. You should understand that because of this, the protection is limited when compared to a Utility Patent as a Design Patent will not necessarily protect how your invention works or is made. And because Design Patents protect only the appearance of an article of manufacture, it is possible that minimal differences between similar designs can render each patentable. Therefore, even though you may ultimately receive a Design Patent for your product, the protection afforded by such a patent may be somewhat limited.

Pricing
Price Range for Complete Preparation and Filing: $750 - $1500. This price includes the government filing fee and the required drawings.

Patent Search
The place to start with any type of patent application endeavor is a Patent Search.

A Patent Search is important for at least two reasons:
  1. A Patent Search results in a stronger patent.
    A search allows the practitioner to gain the information required to draft the application according to the Patent Drafting Strategy we utilize to ensure the broadest protection possible for your invention.

  2. A Patent Search will save you time and money.
    This is important because before you spend any money toward the application process, you should determine if protection is in fact available. Plus, it allows us to draft an application that we believe is allowable in light of the search results, which cuts down on the time and money required to prosecute your application toward a patent.
The fee to conduct a Patent Search for a Design Patent Application is $500. However, if you elect to pursue the patent application after reviewing the search results, we will credit half of this fee to the application drafting fees. So the net cost for the benefits described above is just $250.

Design Patent FAQs

What is a Design Patent?

A Design Patent provides an enforceable legal right to prevent others from exploiting the way your invention looks. In order to secure Design Patent protection, you first need to file a Design Patent Application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the federal authority responsible for processing patent applications and maintaining the U.S. Register of Patents.

What does a Design Patent Protect?

As mentioned more above, a Design Patent protects the way an invention looks, whereas a traditional Utility Patent protects the functional aspects of the invention.

How long does a Design Patent last?

The term of a Design Patent is 14 years from the date it is issued. A Utility Patent, by comparison, has a term of approximately 17-18 years from the issue date.


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