Design patents protect the ornamental look of a useful item, such as the shape of a bottle or the design of a chair. The design patent application process is similar to that of utility patents, but the focus is on the appearance of the item rather than its function. One benefit of obtaining a design patent is that it can provide exclusive rights to the design for up to 15 years from the date the patent is granted.
This can prevent competitors from copying the design and can give the patent holder a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Additionally, a design patent can also serve as a valuable asset that can be licensed or sold to others. Another benefit of obtaining a design patent is that it can be a cost-effective way to protect the design of a product. Design patents have lower fees and a simpler application process compared to utility patents. This can make them a more attractive option for small businesses or individuals with limited resources. A design patent can also serve as evidence of ownership and can be used in legal proceedings to enforce design patent rights. It can be used to prevent others from manufacturing, selling, or importing products that infringe on the patented design. A design patent holder can also seek damages for any infringement that occurs. It is important to note that a design patent only protects the appearance of an item, not its function. Therefore, it is important to consider whether a design patent is the appropriate form of protection for your product or if a utility patent would be a better option.
A US registered patent attorney like me can help you determine the best course of action to protect your creations. Reach out for an initial consultation!