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Definition of a Design Patent


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Definition of a Design Patent
First Imac received design patent

The Imac first sold on Aug. 15, 1998 won popular acclaim for its creative design - the shape received a design patent

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According to USPTO patent law, a design patent is granted to any person who has invented any new and nonobvious ornamental design for an article of manufacture. The design patent protects only the appearance of an article, but not its structural or functional features.

In layman's term a design patent is a type of patent that covers the ornamental aspects of design. The functional aspects of an invention are covered by a utility patent. Both design and utility patents may be obtained on an invention if it is new both in its utility (what makes it useful) and its appearance.

The application process for a design patent are the same as those relating to other patents with a few differences. A design patent has a shorter term of 14 years, and no maintance fees are necessary. If your design patent application passes its examination, a notice of allowance will be sent to you or your attorney or agent asking for you to pay an issue fee.

The drawing for a design patent follow the same rules as other drawings, but no reference characters are allowed and the drawing(s) should clearly depict the appearance, since the drawing defines the scope of patent protection. The specification of a design patent application is brief and ordinarily follows a set form.

Only one claim is permitted in a design patent, following a set form.

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