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Michael J Foycik Jr
by Michael J Foycik Jr.

The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at IP1lwyr@gmail.com, or call at 877-654-3336.
A design
Each “how to patent” subject is discussed in detail below. Here are ways to get a patent.

A design is anything which is not functional. A casing or cover for a working device can be a design. Other things can be designs too. A design can best be protected by a design patent application, and usually costs much less to file than a utility (“regular“) patent application. Even the government filing fee is much lower for a design patent application.

What is needed to get a design patent application? You will normally need drawings showing the design from six different orthogonal views. The application itself is very short, and has text naming the invention, describing the drawings, and ending with a claim. The drawings do not need to be like blueprints; instead, they are simplified. And, it is not necessary to have a working model.

Once filed with the US Patent Office, the design application is examined, and if granted, can mature into a design patent. But why get a design patent? For one thing, a design patent protects not only the design itself, but all obvious variations that are not within the public domain already.

By contrast, a copyright only covers copies made, which must be exact copies. And, a copyright does not cover any design, even if identical, which was not copied. So, if two inventors both make the same exact design by sheer chance, and one inventor gets a copyright, that copyright would not be usable against the other inventor. The reason is, a copyright only covers copying.

A design patent covers any design that is sufficiently close so as to infringe, even if there was no copying. A design patent is therefore valuable, yet different from a copyright.

Before getting into the details, we would like to mention that there is also something called a “provisional patent application” discussed hereunder. It gives patent pending status for one year, permitting a utility patent application to be filed at any time during that year. That is another way to get a patent. The provisional application is much less expensive than a utility patent application, and can be recommended when there is an urgent need to get a patent application on file with the US Patent Office. For example, just prior to a trade show or publication of the invention, there is an urgent need to have the idea on file with the US Patent Office. For further information, see the section below called “How to patent using a provisional patent application.”

Standard text is then added including sections titled: background of the invention; summary of the invention; brief description of the drawings; and an abstract of the disclosure. These are not usually hard to do for a design patent application.

Then, a Declaration is prepared showing the name of the inventor and title of the invention. This is from a standard form provided by the US Patent Office.

Last, a cover page including a Transmittal sheet is prepared, listing what is being filed with the US Patent Office. The Transmittal page normally will include a check for the amount of the US government filing fee, and a postcard filing receipt. The check can be omitted, as can the signed Declaration, but in that case the US Patent Office will send a notice asking for those items along with a relatively small late fee.

The drawings may or may not be accepted as filed. If not accepted, the US Patent Office sends a notice, and sets a time period for submitting the formal drawings. A specially skilled draftsman normally prepares the formal drawings, since the US Patent Office has very specific and detailed requirements for the drawings. We work with such a skilled patent draftsman, to provide the formal drawings.

The application is examined by the US Patent Office. If granted, the application matures into a design patent. A granted design patent can be enforced in court, and it can be assigned and licensed too.

If you call or email us, we would be happy to discuss your invention or idea. There is no charge for discussing how to patent your idea or invention. Sometimes we can provide an insight into how to manufacture or market the invention, based on our experiences.

And, we can help with negotiating with potential distributors, investors, and licensees. We can explain how to get a patent, how to patent your ideas, the costs involved, and any other issues of interest to you. We can explain what might help, and the lowest cost ways to get the needed protection. This is at no charge, and we like talking with inventors. At this point we sometimes can provide a fixed fee estimate, based on your brief description of your idea. In some cases, we would need to see more information such as a drawing or a written description, that would help us form an accurate fixed fee estimate. That is all confidential. At that point, if you wish to proceed further, then you would provide one half the estimated amount in advance; we prepare the draft application and paperwork; then you send the other half of the fee after you have approved a final draft that you feel is ready for filing with the US Patent Office.

We would enjoy helping you get a design patent! And, if you like, we can give our comments based on our own experience on how to commercialize the invention, including suggestions on manufacturing, marketing, and attracting investors.

And that is how to patent a design!
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at IP1lwyr@gmail.com, or call at 877-654-3336.