How is Design Patent Different From Utility Patent?
Design patents protect how something looks, while utility patents protect how something operates and the way it is constructed. Consequently, to obtain a design patent, the applicant must meet different requirements; the invention must still be novel and non-obvious, but it must also be original and an ornamental design of a useful item.
Here’s some information to guide your design patent application:
- Originality is not merely imitating something already constructed or naturally occurring. However, courts have defined “original” loosely.
- Design cannot be dictated by the item’s function.
- The design must be visible during intended and usual use of the item, or at important commercial times, such as when you offer to sell the item.
- The item must be man-made.
- You cannot design patent paintings, photographs, decals or silk-screened items.
- Factors in determining obvious are, for the most part, similar to those under a utility patent. Examples of non-obvious may include:
- using an unexpected medium;
- omitting a particular design element thought to be crucial; or
- creating a new juxtaposition of design elements.