Design Patent Registration Legal Protection
A design patent acts as a form of legal protection given to an ornamental design of a functional item. In practice, what this means is that a design patent prevents others from using, selling, or copying an object with a design that is substantially similar to the design you claimed in the patent. As a result, you have exclusive rights over ownership and distribution of the design. This is a tremendous right to have, particularly since you put in a lot of hard work and effort into creating the design. Some examples of patentable designs include jewelry, furniture, containers, and computer icons.
How is This Any Different from Other Patents?
It goes without saying that there exist different categories, or types, of patents. In the United States, there are three which occur most frequently and which offer the most utility and practicality. The first type is a utility patent, which covers new inventions and creations. The second is a plant patent, which enables an applicant to patent new strains of plants, and finally, the last type of patent is for design. This is the one you will want to apply for if what you created is a style, form factor, or design that has a practical utility to it. Fortunately, due to the vague wording regarding US patent law, there are lots of design creations that can be covered.
U.S. Design Patents
Another way that U.S. design patents stand out from others, is that they allow for the applicant’s work to remain hidden or secret. This can be particularly vital if the design is for a new, revolutionary product or software. With more and more emphasis being placed on smart technology, innovation in the field is going to rely more and more on intelligently designed products to captive consumer interest and to garner positive feedback to an ever-increasing amount of press outlets. For the competitive edge alone, having a guarantee that a design patent application will remain secret and not be published until after it is granted can be massive for both large companies and small, independent businesses and startups.
A Well Kept Secret is…Well, Good
A great example of design patents playing a huge role in modern day product placement and marketing is how it can be a decisive factor in lawsuits. For example, in Apple v. Samsung, the pre-emptive design patents that Apple had applied for turned out to be the huge ace card in the dilemma, winning Apple the lawsuit and millions of dollars from Samsung. A great of relating utility and design patents is by considering Apple’s iPhone: the way it works is the result of many utility patents and the way it looks and displays information is the result of many design patents. As technology changes and adapts, the role of product design will continue to blur function and ergonomics, making novel designs more and more valuable.
Filing Design Patent Application with USPTO
Prior to thinking about how to file your design patent application, you’ll want to ensure that your design is, indeed, novel. For this, you’ll have to search through prior art and this step is one of the most grueling as the archive is very expansive and it can feel overwhelming to search through such a huge amount of patents. You’ll want to look closely for the combination of design elements that you wish to protect with your patent to make sure it hasn’t already been claimed. Even down to the font that you use can be subject to a design patent.
USPTO Design Patent Drafting
This is where you will need to put together all of your findings to present to the USPTO in your application. Here, you’ll want to mention what sets your design apart from others, highlighting its novel features. Further, you should include drawings and diagrams demonstrating this. Putting everything together, you’ll have everything you need to file your design patent application…but why go through all of that headache alone? At KAASS LAW, we are constantly inspired by the beautiful and innovative designs and creations of artists and visionaries. We have years of experience in filing for design patents. We work directly with you to document, record, gather, and showcase all of the novel features of your product design so that the application process is quick and successful. We invite you to give us a call at (310) 943-1171 to speak to our Trademark and Patent lawyers today.
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KAASS LAW is authorized to practice law in California. The above content is intended for California residents only. This content provides only general information which may or may not reflect current legal developments. KAASS LAW expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any of the contents of this website. The above content DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship. KAASS LAW does not represent you unless you have expressly retained KAASS LAW in person at the KAASS LAW office.
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