Collier Legal

Design Patents

Design patents are patents that protect the aesthetics of an invention. These patents do not protect any functionality of an invention, nor do they protect how something is put together, assembled, or “designed”. 

Design applications can only include 1 claim, and that claim has statutory language requirements. It must be written as “the ornamental design of …”. 

design patent drawing

Common Issues With Design Patents

Design vs Functionality

Many of our clients seek protection on how something is put together or assembled. However, how an invention is assembled affects the way it functions or works. While the word “design” may be appropriate to describe this, it is not protectable through a design patent. It must be covered by a utility patent.

Designs must be applied to an article of manufacture.

Design applications may be used to protect images or software interfaces. However, patent law requires a patentable design to include an article of manufacture. In plain terms, a design is only patentable as applied to an object or display. For example, an image on a computer may be patentable, but you must claim the image as displayed on the computer. You cannot patent the image without including the medium of display.

Our Experience With Design Patents

Our patent professionals have experience helping clients draft, file, and fix design applications. Our lawyers have worked on a variety of designs, including software applications, website pages, user interfaces, fictional characters, and the aesthetic looks of co-pending utility patents. Design applications are significantly less expensive than utility applications, so we encourage clients to pursue both when it makes sense. This helps our clients obtain the maximum IP protection possible for their inventions.

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