Design Patents: The Patent Juries Understand and the PTAB Holds Valid.
Since 2008, the most effective patents may no longer be the expensive cumbersome ones, thanks to Design Patents. In 2008 the Federal Circuit changed the design test for patent infringement (article on federal circuit ruling). Now it’s is easier than ever to prove design patent infringement. Takeaway: design patent protection is now essential for the startup Shark Tank®️ type inventor launching a novel product into the marketplace.
Because a design patent protects the shape, configuration and surface ornamentation of an invention rather than its mechanical utility, an inventor may not initially think of securing a design patent. A design patent will protect the way something looks, not the way it functions. Customarily, an inventor wants to protect the functionality of their invention. However, due to enhanced enforcement-capacity, inventors should now seek to patent both the function and the design of their invention.
Three Design Patent Rules to Keep in Mind
- Design patents are all about the drawings, not the Spec’s or the “dimensions.” Also, multiple ‘alternate embodiments’ are a no-no in the design patent game. So pick your favorite embodiment, and get good MPEP-Quality Drawings.
- The USPTO filing-&-examination fee is $255. If you are successful in obtaining a design patent, your issue fee to the USPTO can be as low as $185 https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/fees-and-payment/uspto-fee-schedule
- Once a design patent has issued, it lives for 15 years with 0 maintenance fees.