As a form of intellectual property protection, a design patent offers to its owner the possibility of protecting an original shape or surface ornamentation of an article and it applies to any unique design features of an object such as bottles, jackets, purses, watches, chairs, tables, glasses, doors, etc.
A design patent gives its owner the right to exclude other persons from making, using, selling/offering to sell or import articles with the protected design without specific permission from its owner. Design patent rights last for 14 years and can be enforced in federal courts.
In order to qualify for a design patent, the following must be true about your creation or invention:
- The design cannot be separated from the article/object and it is part of it. For example, the design of a label for a juice bottle will probably not qualify for a design patent, but the shape of the bottle, such as the Pepsi-Cola bottles, can qualify for one.
The design is not obviously connected to the functionality of the article/object. If the design affects the way the object works and cannot be separated clearly from its function, than it is better to try applying for a utility patent.