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Design Patents—Protecting the Appearance of Your Product

Design patents are often overlooked and undervalued, but are an important way to protect your intellectual property. If you have a new and unique product, you need to guard against other businesses capitalizing on your hard work and creativity. A design patent lawyer can help you understand your options and get you the protection you need. 

What is a Design Patent?

A design patent protects the appearance of your invention – its shape or other external characteristics unique to your product. In order to qualify for a design patent, there are several criteria that you must meet, including the following: 

  1. The design must be for a manufactured product – you cannot seek patent protection for a work of art such as a painting or sculpture.
  2. The design must be “ornamental,” meaning that it is not related to the function of the product.
  3. The design must be original and non-obvious. 

It can be difficult to know whether your product meets these criteria – in certain situations, for example, reasonable people may disagree whether your design is independent of the function of your product. A design patent lawyer can provide guidance as to whether you can seek a design patent and then draft an application that includes the information you need to get your design protected. 

FAQs Answered by a Design Patent Lawyer

How is a design patent different from a utility patent?

Design patents protect the appearance of your product while utility patents protect the essential functionality of your product. In other words, a design patent protects how your product looks while a utility patent protects how your product works and is used. 

How are design patents different from trade dress?

Design patents and trade dress offer similar protections for related aspects of your product but there are significant differences between each of these types of intellectual property. Determining which options are available or right for you depends on the nature of your product. An experienced design patent lawyer can provide valuable guidance in deciding which type of protection you should consider.

How long does it take to get a design patent?

Design patents are generally processed more quickly than utility patents and are typically easier to obtain. Registering a design patent typically takes between 9 and 14 months and rejections are comparatively rare. 

What does it cost to get a design patent?

There are two components to what it costs to obtain your design patent: (1) the USPTO filing fees; (2) attorney’s fees. The filing fees will depend on the size of your entity but can range anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Attorney’s fees can also vary widely. Some firms charge on an hourly basis while others will bill their services on a flat-fee basis.  

Work with a Design Patent Lawyer from ESQgo®, PC

At ESQgo, we know how to navigate the patent process so that our clients can get the protection they need. To discuss your intellectual property needs, contact us today to schedule a consultation with a design patent lawyer who can help you achieve your goals.