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You may not realize it, but a significant amount of time, effort, and money go into the designs of the products we use every day. This is because good design while conferring no utilitarian benefit, is a very effective marketing tool. Consumers are more likely to purchase attractive, well-designed products that make them feel good than bland, boring, or ugly products. If you have invested the resources to create a unique design that you believe will make your products stand out from the others, an Alabama design patent attorney can help you protect it with a design patent

The Benefits of a Design Patent

Design patents are a unique form of intellectual property (IP) that protects the ornamental design of a product. While utility patents, the most common type of patents, protect the way a product functions, design patents protect the way it looks. The scope of design patent protection is broad, including the following elements and more: 

  • The configuration or shape of a product
  • The surface ornamentation of a product
  • The color arrangement of a product
  • The arrangement of elements of a product
  • Computer-generated icons
  • Graphical user interfaces in software applications

It should be noted that design patents are not available for any design that affects the functioning of the product or the cost to manufacture the product. For example, a unique design for a pair of tweezers that makes the tweezers easier to grip would not be eligible for a design patent because the design affects how the product works. 

Our Alabama Design Patent Attorney Explains How to Get a Design Patent

The patent application process for design patents is often faster than that for utility patents. Design patent eligibility is similar to utility patent eligibility (i.e., new, useful, and non-obvious), except that there is no usefulness requirement — indeed, design patents cannot be useful (“functional”). Generally, an applicant for a design patent must show that the design is: 

  • Different from other designs
  • Not obviously influenced or derived from other designs
  • Ornamental (i.e., visible in the end-use of the product)

A design patent application includes only one claim, and that claim must take the form of drawings to show the article’s ornamental features. Once issued, design patents remain in force for 15 years. 

Are Design Patents Valuable? 

Do not assume that the ornamental focus of design patents necessarily lowers their worth. Ornamental designs can translate to enormous financial value for popular products. To illustrate: In 2018, after seven years of litigation, a jury awarded Apple $533 million in a verdict against Samsung for infringing its design patents. Are the designs at issue? The iPhone’s rounded corners, the bezel around its home button, and the arrangement of icons on its screen. 

Contact an Alabama Design Patent Attorney 

If you have a design that you believe is worth protecting, an attorney can assist you in obtaining a design patent. For more information, please contact an Alabama design patent attorney at Adams IP by calling 251-289-9787 or by using our online contact form. We serve clients throughout Alabama including Mobile, Huntsville, and Birmingham.