The United States Constitution grants Congress the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The patent grant allows a patentee the exclusive right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement of these for 20 years after the patent application is filed. While this definition generally includes “anything under the sun that is made by man,” abstract ideas, mathematical formulas, physical phenomena, and laws of nature are not patentable.
Congress added design patents to the patent statute in the 19th century. A design patent protects a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. The design patent grants the patent owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing an article of manufacture of similar design for 14 years from the date the patent is granted. A product may be protected by a design patent alone or in combination with a utility patent.
A design patent can be granted for just about any product – examples are the Statue of Liberty, the Stealth Bomber, the Coke bottle, potato chips, sneakers, tire treads . . . you get the idea. The design can be applied to the surface of the article, comprise the product’s shape or configuration, or be a combination of the two. The design cannot, however, be functional – an issue that should be discussed with your attorney before embarking on expensive product design and development.
Our patent attorneys can research and file your design patent and shepherd it through the patent prosecution process at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as well as assert your patented design against infringing products. Products that are eligible for design patent protection might also qualify for additional layers of copyright and/or trademark protection. We are happy to help you determine the most efficient and effective approach for protecting your commercial designs.
The McHattie Law Firm, with our depth of experience in all aspects of intellectual property, including licensed patent attorneys, is uniquely equipped to deal with modern businesses’ most valuable assets, intellectual property. From creation to licensing and sale, we stand ready, willing and able to serve your needs, identify opportunities, and develop solutions for your problems. We have the experience to help you obtain global intellectual property protection (whether a patentable invention, a copyrightable creative work, a trademark, software or a trade secret), in an efficient and effective way. Thereafter, we offer the advice to help you exploit and profit from your innovation and investment.