Protecting a product’s new, original, or ornamental design is vital to an invention’s livelihood. Design patents do just that – protect the visual, non-functional, features of an invention. This may include a product’s shape, or other aesthetic aspects of the surface of a product, or a combination of both. Examples of this would be the shape of a Coke bottle, or the visual elements of an app on your smartphone. Design patents also exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing both exact copies, as well as substantially similar objects to the protected design.
The protected shapes and aesthetic aspects don’t need to be functional components of the product. As a result, a product can be protected by both design and utility patents. Design patents differ from utility patents in that they protect only non-functional aspects of an invention. Design patents cost significantly less than utility patents and are generally granted at a much faster rate, presenting a few reasons why design patents may be a smart investment.
Design patent applications can be filed around the world to give even greater protection for the design of your product. Because of this, changes in international design registration may result in more effective international protection for your design inventions.
If you have an interest in filing a design patent application in the U.S. and/or around the world, please contact an MVS attorney to discuss the best strategy for obtaining intellectual property protection for all your inventions.
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