Frequently Asked Questions
What do design patents cover?
Design patents, as recognized in the United States, cover original decorative designs for manufactured articles. This type of patent protection ensures that the unique aesthetic design of a product is exclusively owned by the inventor. These exclusive rights can be licensed, bought, and sold, providing the inventor with the ability to control how their design is used and by whom. The design must meet certain criteria to be eligible for a design patent. It must be novel, meaning no one else has already patented a similar design. It must also be non-obvious, meaning that a person with typical skill in the relevant industry would not already know about the design. Design patents are particularly important in industries where the aesthetic appeal of a product plays a significant role in its marketability. For example, in the fashion, furniture, or consumer electronics industries, a unique and attractive design can be a major selling point. By obtaining a design patent, inventors can protect their investment in the development of a unique design, prevent others from copying their design, and potentially increase the value of their product if they plan to license the design to other companies.
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