United States Design Patent Application
A United States design patent is filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to protect the ornamental appearance of an article. This gives the inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, offering-for-sale, or selling products that embody the patented design.
Understand the Design Patent.
The unique, distinctive, or easily recognizable appearance of a product can be the key to commercial success. If consumers readily identify a product’s design, a design patent is a worthwhile investment to protect the ornamental appearance of a product from being “knocked off.”
Timing Of Design Patent Application Filings.
Timing often is important in design patent application filings. Filing for a design patent application too early creates problems when often inevitable design changes occur. For best results, a design patent application typically is filed just before a product is taken to market.
Compliance with Drawing Standards.
Drawings submitted in a United States design patent application are the most important element. The most common frustration and greatest expense in the prosecution of a United States design patent application can be compliance with the drawing standards of the USPTO.
While the USPTO permits the filing of informal drawings such as hand-drawn figures, figures that include gray scale, .jpg drawings, and photographs, these almost always will be rejected.
Submittal of formal drawings at a later date often leads to greater expense and uncertainty. The USPTO often will find real or imagined flaws in the formal drawings due to introduction of "new matter,” non-identical content, and the like.
Preparation and filing of formal drawings that meet all required patent criteria allow ready and low cost prosecution of a United States design patent application.