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Ever heard of design patents? Let me break it down for you. A design patent is a type of legal protection granted by the United States (US) government for the unique visual features of an industrial design. If you have a product with an excellent and distinct look, you can apply for a design patent to safeguard your creation.
Design patents can prevent others from profiting off of your original invention. And why does this matter?
Remember that not only will they profit off your invention financially, but they'll also be taking away from a lot of brand value, which would usually be attributed solely to your business.
While a patent may seem like a significant invention initially, the long-term value of the legal protection offered is well worth it.
Now that you understand what a design patent is and its importance let's start exploring how to patent a design. First and foremost, we'd strongly suggest hiring a patent attorney — why? Well, patent law isn't exactly clear-cut.
There are a lot of nuances that you may not be familiar with.
And if that's not motivation enough, almost 9/10 patent applications are rejected. A qualified lawyer can ensure you're in that 1/10, saving you time and money!
But just for the sake of giving you an overview, here's the design patent application process in a nutshell:
To figure out if a similar design to yours already exists, you'll need to conduct a patent search. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers a useful patent search tool for this purpose.
Each patent design requires certain elements; these are as follows:
You can look up a few examples online of patent applications to get an idea of what yours should look like before proceeding. Once you're ready, submit your application. Proceeding this, you'll have to work closely with your patent examiner.
The good news is that even if your patent is rejected, there is a brief window where you can make amendments. You may also be requested to argue the merits of the application.
Okay, so you now understand what design patents are, their importance, and how to file one. Nevertheless, perhaps you remain uncertain because of the time and monetary investment required.
In this case, a pros and cons list will be a great help — let's start with the benefits:
Design patents come with several upsides, including but not limited to:
Okay, so now that I've gone over the pros, let's start looking at some of the negatives of design patents:
Take note: If you need to protect the function, remember that utility patent applications offer a way to protect the utility of your invention.
Okay, so now that I've gone over what patents are, their importance, how to patent designs, and the pros and cons, let's explore why you should seek the counsel of a qualified patent attorney.
While it may be tempting, especially with all this new information, to try to go at it on your own, as we've said before, we strongly advise against it.
As I’ve said earlier, most patent applications are rejected. Now, imagine if a doctor told you you had a 10% chance of having a successful toe operation — you'd look for another doctor!
And so, if the odds of success if you try to file by yourself are so low, why don't you employ someone else? Our patent attorneys are licensed, qualified, experienced and are ready and willing to assist with your patent registration.
You can learn more by searching our Patent Express website.
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Lindokuhle Mkhize, a skilled creative copywriter and content lead at Trademarkia, brings a wealth of experience in driving innovation and managing teams. With previous success in starting and growing the Innovation and Marketing department at her former creative agency, Lindokuhle boasts expertise in leadership and delivering compelling content. Based in South Africa, Lindokuhle's work focuses on key themes of creativity, effective communication, and strategic marketing.
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