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Search, Draw, Draft and File your Design Patent Application
DEFINITION of ‘Design Patent’
A patent protecting the unique visual qualities of a manufactured item. A design patent may be granted if the product has a distinct configuration, distinct surface ornamentation or both.
BREAKING DOWN ‘Design Patent’
A design patent should not be confused with a utility patent, which safeguards an item’s unique way of operating. A single product may have both a design patent and a utility patent at the same time.
One of the key differences between the two patents is their lifespan. A design patent is valid for 14 years after being awarded and is not renewable. A utility patent lasts for 20 years and requires periodic maintenance fees. A design patent does not require maintenance fees.
When a company’s product design has substantial cachet, a design patent solidifies its competitive advantage by penalizing other firms that try to develop similar-looking items. For example, Apple has been awarded damages reportedly totaling more than $900 million from Samsung, which violated its iPhone design patents. For more on patents, see Patents Are Assets, So Learn How To Value Them.