Design patents provide valuable coverage to a design. In this article, we’ll look at the time and cost advantages of obtaining design patents and discuss the enforceability of design patents. You might be surprised to learn that they can be more expensive than you think! Still, they’re worth considering if your designs are unique. Read on to learn why. In the end, it’s all about whether or not your product design is truly unique.
Value of a design patent
Design patents are issued for 15 years from the date of grant. During this time, a design patent cannot be infringed. The value of a design patent cannot be reduced even if it is reissued. It is impossible to reissue a design patent that is no longer valid. Ex parte Lawrence, 70 USPQ 326 (Comm’r Pats. 1946), addressed this issue. This case is not an isolated one. MPEP Chapter 2200 covers practice in reexamination applications and protests.
While trade-dress protection is valuable, it usually takes years to obtain, requiring significant marketing expenditures. In addition, the copycat products cannot be stopped for years after their launch. By contrast, a design patent is granted before the secondary meaning can be established, making it easier to confront infringers and settle the case immediately. A design patent can be highly valuable and can make the difference between losing a lawsuit and a successful business.
Design patent preparation can be relatively inexpensive and may cost only a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The cost is typically lower than a utility patent, which is only issued for an actual useful invention. The preparation of a design patent can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars and ease your uncertainties. And, as a bonus, design patents require no maintenance fees or publication fees. When you consider the benefits of owning a design patent, consider all the costs involved before choosing a patent attorney.
While utility patents can play a huge role in a company’s success, a design patent can provide a different kind of competitive advantage. The design of a product can make or break its acceptance in the market. For example, Apple argued in court in the Samsung v. Apple case that the iPhone’s design contributed to its success. The case against Samsung led to the award of hundreds of millions of dollars for Apple.
The procedure to obtain a design patent is similar to that for a utility patent. Whether or not the design patent is valued depends on the quality and skill with which the drawings are prepared. The drawings must be in black ink on white paper, unless a color photograph is submitted. A design patent is a valuable asset that will be valuable for years to come. If you have ever wondered about the value of a design patent, it is well worth the expense.
A design patent covers the entire design of an invention, but not individual parts or subcombinations. Because of the doctrine of segregable parts, a design patent covers a whole design, not a portion of it. Subcombinations and combination/subcombination subject matter must be protected by separate patents. Therefore, the claims of a design patent application must be separate from the claims for other patents that cover the same subject matter.
Time and cost advantages of a design patent
A design patent is a more expedient method for protecting your original design from imitators. Over half of design patent applications are granted within one year. Meanwhile, utility cases take anywhere from three to six years to resolve. Additionally, a design patent requires only a $900 expedited examination fee and can be approved in as little as 2.2 months. Applicants should also be aware that there are some limitations with design patents. While design patents protect the appearance of something, they do not protect its function.
A design patent requires fewer drawings than a utility or plant patent. An attorney will spend significantly less time on preparing a design patent application than a utility patent application. Official fees at the US Patent and Trademark Office for design patents are generally 40% lower than utility patents. In addition, the process is streamlined, allowing applicants to focus on the visuals of their products, reducing the lead time to filling the application. As long as there are no major changes in the design, the process can be repeated as often as necessary.
A design patent also protects you against knockoffs. Many products sold online are imitated by other manufacturers. In some cases, these products are even shopped from online stores by knockoff artists. These artists may want to sell an item that looks similar to yours but without the original design. Customers may not know the difference between a real product and one created by an imitator. In such cases, a design patent is a better option for protecting your product.
A design patent is an important part of a product’s development. Patenting a design is easier than filing a utility patent because there is no need to include the functional aspects of your product. Design patents tend to issue much faster than utility patents, which means less money and faster protection for your product. If you’re starting a new business, a design patent might be the way to go.
Another major advantage of design patents is the speed with which they are examined. Utility patent applications can take up to two years to process, whereas design patents are reviewed in a matter of months. Some design patents even issue within a year of filing. So, whether your new product is an improved version of a popular product, design patents are a great option for protecting your business. You will also be able to market it better with a design patent – so you’ll want to take advantage of that!
When compared to utility patents, a design patent costs around half as much. However, the cost of a design patent may increase significantly if the complexity and challenges are more significant. But despite the cost and complexity of a design patent, the average allowance rate for a design patent is approximately 85 percent. A design patent typically receives its first action within a year, compared to only 50 percent for utility patents.
Enforceability of a design patent
Design patents are a powerful form of intellectual property. The United States has a strong design patent law, and enforcement efforts are increasing in every industry. In addition to functional devices, design protection is also expanding to encompass icons and GUIs. While this area is still developing, there are currently several important factors that will likely influence the enforceability of a design patent. Listed below are some of the most important factors to consider.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is the relevant authority for design patents. Title 35 of the United States Code governs design patents. It includes sections 171 et seq. This section provides guidance on design patent enforcement and the scope of claim scope. If an applicant does not file a timely application, the patent statute provides an applicant with a one-year grace period. However, this grace period applies to foreign filings.
Design patents can be challenged on the same grounds as a design patent application. Invalidity can be based on errors in identifying the correct inventors, fraud on the Patent Office, and prior art. An example of a cited prior art can make a design patent unpatentable if it was obvious to someone else or did not solve a problem. Ultimately, the enforceability of a design patent is dependent on the legal and technical issues surrounding a design patent.
The duration of the enforceability of a design patent is fifteen years. The period of time begins on the date the patent was issued. However, the patent owner can extend the term through a serial process wherein multiple embodiments are filed in one application. A serial prosecution is also possible, with an applicant filing another application as the first approach nears grant. In the meantime, the patent owner will continue to have the right to sue the violator for an unregistered design patent.
Federal Circuit decisions in recent years highlight the importance of the title and claim language in a design patent. The title of the protected article is crucial to limiting the scope of the patent. The title and claim are key elements in determining the scope of a design patent, and they are important for both enforcement and procurement. In the current market, it is imperative to carefully consider the title and claim language. In the past, the Federal Circuit held that the title and claim language of a design patent narrowed the scope of applicable prior art.
The average pendency of a design patent application is significantly shorter than the pendency of a utility patent application. In addition to its strong protection, a design patent is widely enforceable. It is difficult to challenge the validity of a design patent in a district court or at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Furthermore, it offers an extremely attractive remedy for a successful enforcement campaign. If an outside party copies or imitates your design, it can face a hefty fine.