"A Guide to Filing a Design Patent Application"

A Guide to Filing a Design Patent Application is a 36-page legal document that was released by the U.S. Department of Commerce - Patent and Trademark Office and used nation-wide.

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A Guide to Filing
A Design Patent Application
A Guide to Filing
A Design Patent Application
A Guide To Filing A Design Patent Application
A Guide to Filing
A Design Patent Application
Definition of a Design. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Types of Designs and Modified Forms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Difference Between Design and Utility Patents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Improper Subject Matter for Design Patents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Invention Development Organizations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Elements of a Design Patent Application. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
The Preamble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
The Title . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
The Figure Descriptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
A Single Claim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Drawings or Black & White Photographs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Color Drawings or Photographs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The Views. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Surface Shading and Drafting Symbols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Broken Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Oath or Declaration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Disclosure Examples. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Design Patent Application Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
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United States Patent and Trademark Office
A Guide To Filing A Design Patent Application
Drawing Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Symbols for Draftsmen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Patent Laws That Apply to Design Patent Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Rules That Apply to the Drawings of a Design Patent Application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Sample Specification. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
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United States Patent and Trademark Office
A Guide To Filing A Design Patent Application
A Guide To Filing A Design Patent Application
U.S. Department of Commerce Patent and Trademark Office Washington, DC 20231
Definition of a Design
The following additional rules have been referred to
in this guide:
A
design consists of the visual ornamental
37 CFR § 1.3
characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an
37 CFR § 1.63
article of manufacture. Since a design is
37 CFR § 1.76
manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a
37 CFR § 1.153
design patent application may relate to the
configuration or shape of an article, to the surface
37 CFR § 1.154
ornamentation applied to an article, or to the
37 CFR § 1.155
combination
of
configuration
and
surface
ornamentation. A design for surface ornamentation is
A copy of these laws and rules is included at the end
inseparable from the article to which it is applied and
of this guide.
cannot exist alone. It must be a definite pattern of
surface ornamentation, applied to an article of
The practice and procedures relating to design
manufacture.
applications are set forth in chapter 1500 of the
Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP).
In discharging its patent-related duties, the United
Inquiries relating to the sale of the MPEP should be
States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or
directed to the Superintendent of Documents, United
Office) examines applications and grants patents on
States Government Printing Office, Washington,
inventions when applicants are entitled to them. The
D.C. 20402. Telephone: 202.512.1800.
patent law provides for the granting of design patents
to any person who has invented any new, original and
ornamental design for an article of manufacture. A
Types of Designs and
design patent protects only the appearance of the
Modified Forms
article and not structural or utilitarian features. The
principal statutes (United States Code) governing
design patents are:
An ornamental design may be embodied in an entire
article or only a portion of an article, or may be
35 U.S.C. 171
ornamentation applied to an article. If a design is
35 U.S.C 172
directed to just surface ornamentation, it must be
35 U.S.C. 173
shown applied to an article in the drawings, and the
article must be shown in broken lines, as it forms no
35 U.S.C. 102
part of the claimed design.
35 U.S.C. 103
35 U.S.C. 112
A design patent application may only have a single
claim (37 CFR § 1.153). Designs that are
35 U.S.C. 132
independent and distinct must be filed in separate
applications since they cannot be supported by a
The rules (Code of Federal Regulations) pertaining
single claim. Designs are independent if there is no
to the drawing disclosure of a design patent
apparent relationship between two or more articles.
application are:
For example, a pair of eyeglasses and a door handle
37 CFR § 1.84
are independent articles and must be claimed in
37 CFR § 1.152
separate applications. Designs are considered distinct
if they have different shapes and appearances even
37 CFR § 1.121
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United States Patent and Trademark Office
A Guide To Filing A Design Patent Application
though they are related articles. For example, two
Invention Development
vases having different surface ornamentation
Organizations
creating distinct appearances must be claimed in
separate applications. However, modified forms, or
Invention Development Organizations (IDO) are
embodiments of a single design concept may be filed
private and public consulting and marketing
in one application. For example, vases with only
businesses that exist to help inventors bring their
minimal
configuration
differences
may
be
inventions to market, or to otherwise profit from their
considered a single design concept and both
ideas. While many of these organizations are
embodiments may be included in a single
legitimate, some are not. Be wary of any IDO that is
application. An example of modified forms appears
willing to promote your invention or product without
at the bottom of Page 16.
making a detailed inquiry into the merits of your idea
and giving you a full range of options which may or
may not include the pursuit of patent protection.
The Difference Between Design
Some IDOs will automatically recommend that you
and Utility Patents
pursue patent protection for your idea with little
regard for the value of any patent that may ultimately
In general terms, a “utility patent” protects the way
issue. For example, an IDO may recommend that you
an article is used and works (35 U.S.C. 101), while a
add ornamentation to your product in order to render
"design patent" protects the way an article looks (35
it eligible for a design patent, but not really explain
U.S.C. 171). Both design and utility patents may be
to you the purpose or effect of such a change.
obtained on an article if invention resides both in its
Because design patents protect only the appearance
utility and ornamental appearance. While utility and
of an article of manufacture, it is possible that
design patents afford legally separate protection, the
minimal differences between similar designs can
utility and ornamentality of an article are not easily
render each patentable. Therefore, even though you
separable. Articles of manufacture may possess both
may ultimately receive a design patent for your
functional and ornamental characteristics.
product, the protection afforded by such a patent may
be somewhat limited. Finally, you should also be
aware of the broad distinction between utility and
Improper Subject Matter for
design patents, and realize that a design patent may
not give you the protection desired.
Design Patents
A design for an article of manufacture that is
Elements of a Design
dictated primarily by the function of the article lacks
Patent Application
ornamentality and is not proper statutory subject
matter under 35 U.S.C. 171. Specifically, if at the
time the design was created, there was no unique or
The elements of a design patent application should
distinctive shape or appearance to the article not
include the following:
dictated by the function that it performs, the design
(1) Preamble, stating name of the applicant, title of
lacks ornamentality and is not proper subject matter.
the design, and a brief description of the nature
In addition, 35 U.S.C. 171 requires that a design to
and intended use of the article in which the
be patentable must be “original.” Clearly a design
design is embodied;
that simulates a well-known or naturally occurring
(2) Description of the figure(s) of the drawing;
object or person is not original as required by the
statute. Furthermore, subject matter that could be
(3) Feature description (optional);
considered offensive to any race, religion, sex,
(4) A single claim;
ethnic group, or nationality is not proper subject
(5) Drawings or photographs;
matter for a design patent application (35 U.S.C. 171
(6) Executed oath or declaration.
and 37 CFR § 1.3).
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United States Patent and Trademark Office
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