DESIGN PATENTS

Design patents cover appearance ONLY! They are of limited value. If you have a device in which appearance is the prime selling point, for example, furniture, design patents may have some value. The test of infringement of a design patent is "If I see your device in a store window here and I walk down the street and see a competing device in a store window there, will i think they are the same?". However, if ten people walk down the street together, they can probably get ten different opinions as to whether or not the two devices are the same. Unfortunately, that is the legal test. So, if you have to sue someone for infringing your design patent, you will get ten PhD's to swear that two devices are identical and your opponent will get ten PhD's to swear that there is no similarity whatsoever. Then, the judge will toss a coin.

At one time, Design patent applications were considered to be a "poor man's" patent, since they provide the same protection as an application for a Utility patent at a much lower price. More recently, the Provisional Patent application does the same thing for even less money and is much faster and easier to obtain. On the other hand, a Provisional application expires after one year and cannot be renewed, where as a capital design application can be kept pending for several years. Therefore, a design application is now a sort of secondary "poor man's" patent. However, it is important to realize what a design patent does and does not do.

If you wish to file an application for a design patent, you do not need professional help. Although, a design patent application is not merely a form, like copyrights and trademarks, there is a definite format, which you can easily follow. Go to your local library and get copies of several design patents and read them. you will quickly see the format and can easily adapt it for your own purposes. Of course, you will also need a drawaing. If you are interested, in having us assist you in acquiring a Design patent, the fee is $500.00 and we will do all the work for you.

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