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US Design Patent Registration FAQ

Updated:2018-12-19 15:03:01    Source:www.tannet-group.comViews:140

US design patent registration is filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A design consists of the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an article of manufacture. protects only the appearance of the article and not structural or utilitarian features. The following are some of the frequently asked questions on design patent registration in the U.S.

Q: What can be registered as design patent?
A design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface ornamentation. It must be a definite pattern of surface ornamentation, applied to an article of manufacture.

Q: What are the difference between design patent and utility model?
In general terms, a "utility patent" protects the way an article is used and works, while a "design patent" protects the way an article looks. Both design and utility patents may be obtained on an article if invention resides both in its utility and ornamental appearance. While utility and design patents afford legally separate protection, the utility and ornamentality of an article are not easily separable. Articles of manufacture may possess both functional and ornamental characteristics.

Q: Who can apply for a patent?
When filing a design patent in the U.S., it must be filed in the name of the person who developed the design (the inventor). If the inventor of a design was an employee of a company when the design was created, the patent will have to be filed first under their name, then later assigned to the company through the USPTO office.

Q: What are the information needed for filing a patent application?
The elements of a design patent application should include the following:
(1) Preamble, stating name of the applicant, title of the design, and a brief description of the nature and intended use of the article in which the design is embodied;
(2) Cross-reference to related applications.
(3) Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development.
(4) Description of the figures of the drawing;
(5) Feature description;
(6) A single claim;
(7) Drawings or photographs;
(8) Executed oath or declaration.

Q: How long will the registration process take?
A typical design patent will take between one and three years for approval. This may depend on whether the design is issued instantly, whether there is a dispute with the USPTO, or if modification for formal issues is required.

Q: How long is the validity period of design patent?
For design patents (patents based on decorative, non-functional features), for design applications filed on or after May 13, 2015 the term is 15 years from the issue date. For design applications filed before May 13, 2015, the term is 14 years from the issue date.

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