Is a Design Patent Right For Your Product?

A Design patent is a type of patent that protects the ornamental appearance of an article. It is a limited type of patent, and it can only protect one embodiment. However, if the product you are trying to patent is wildly different from existing products, it may qualify. Read on to learn more about design patents. Listed below are some of the reasons you may want to apply for a design patent. Hopefully, these tips will help you decide whether your new product is patentable.
Design patents protect only the ornamental appearance of an article

A design patent is a type of patent that protects only the ornamental appearance of an article. While there is no requirement for the design to be functional, a design patent can be advantageous for a business that seeks to distinguish itself from its competitors. However, a design patent is not valid if the design is functional, such as a frying pan, which may not be patented because of its functionality.

The ornamental appearance of an article is protected with a design patent, and it gives a patented owner the right to prevent others from producing a similar product. An ordinary observer is generally a person who buys a particular type of retail item, but an expert is unlikely to be fooled. A design patent may not be granted if another product is similar to the patented product, but it may have other advantages.

They are limited in scope

A design patent is generally limited in scope due to the lack of specificity in its claims. Generally, design patents are not issued for a specific article, but rather for a combination of articles. For this reason, the title of a design patent application must clearly identify what the claimed patented subject matter is. The Patent Office takes a position on this question, but there are some ways to limit the scope of a design patent.

The Curver Luxembourg decision clarifies that a design patent is limited to the article of manufacture described in the application drawings. This case highlights a problem with the patent system, however. While limiting design patents to a single article of manufacture isn’t uncommon, it can be difficult to determine the extent of a design patent’s scope. The Court’s decision in Curver Luxembourg, SARL v. Home Expressions Inc. highlights the importance of limiting the scope of a design patent in light of the fact that the drawings are often incomplete or illegible.

They are only granted if the design is non-obvious

A design patent protects a person’s right to prevent others from making or selling a similar product. The Supreme Court defined an “ordinary observer” as a person who would be likely to purchase a product of the same type. An expert would be far less likely to be fooled by similar goods. The key to design patents is to show that your design is not obvious and is ornamental.

To qualify for a design patent, your design must be new in the prior art and not obvious to the public. The design must be original to the inventor and must be “non-obvious” to a hypothetical designer. A design patent cannot protect ornamental features that are hidden in the design, such as a decorative pattern or texture. It must also be a product of artistic conception or skill.

They can only cover one embodiment

While there are a few limitations on design patents, in general, the disclosure of one embodiment will suffice to grant protection to a design. For instance, two vases having similar shapes and configurations will be included in a single application, as long as they have minimal differences. Otherwise, it is unlikely to grant protection to a design. Thus, if you have more than one embodiment, you must file separate applications for each.

In general, design patents only cover one embodiment. This limitation is not overcome by the clear admission of the applicant on record. However, if the different embodiments are patentably indistinguishable, the claim will be valid despite their different appearances. This is because if there is a distinct appearance between the two designs, the difference is not patentably distinguishable. However, if the embodiments of the design are similar, a design patent would not be issued for either of them.