Design Patent

The unique design of your item is a spark of creative brilliance. Patent your design & keep it safe from being replicated.

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Design patent

Artistically, design patents play an important role in our daily life. Here, a patent is a government authority or license presenting a right for a set of the period, especially the selling rights to exclude others from making or selling an invention or ideas. There are different categories of patents. Here, the design patent is one among them which has a very crucial role.

A design patent is a form of legal protection of different visual features of a manufactured item. A design patent may be granted if the product has a separate configuration, distinct exterior ornamentation or both. In other words, a design patent protects the ornamental design of something that has a practical utility. As the name suggests, a design patent is used to grant the inventor rights to how or what an invention should look like. This is a unique feature because the design patents are given when the inventor has a new idea, and it protects only the appearance of the invention.

An item that is considered similar to something that has the protection of a design patent may not be made, copied, used or imported into the country. Usually, the design patent protects the inventor for ten years (with an additional five upon the payment of renewal fees). To get the approval for a design patent, the patent office must be convinced that the design being patented is unique only to this invention. For example, a computer such as the iMac is an invention that has a design patent. Here, the design patent plays a major role in the business as well as many aspects of work.

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A few famous design patents


1.The famous design patent- Statue of Liberty

In 1879, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the great Statue of Liberty, conferred the design patent of his masterpiece which would enhance a national monument and a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. This design consists of a woman holding a torch and a book that represents attributes of wisdom.

The design patent granted exclusive profits from modest copies of the statue which extended further to the full-size statue that stands tall on Liberty Island today. The 151-foot-tall statue was developed in 1886 and presented to the U.S as a centennial commemoration, of its Declaration of Independence.

2.Design Patent - iPhone

Apple’s patent for the original iPhone, listed simply as an “electronic device,” is stated as an ornamental design of an electronic device. Even though the iPhone was not the first smartphone or the first phone to connect to the internet, the fundamental design has successfully transformed the look and function of a device that numerous people use every day.

3.Design Patent- Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a peer to peer information exchange for mobile communications. Jaap Haartsen invented Bluetooth in 1994, allowing electronic devices in close proximity to connect with each other using low-power, ultra-high-frequency radio waves. He drafted multiple patents related to Bluetooth, but they have been stymied by lawsuits and patent trolls.

The Bluetooth uses small computer chips implanted in devices that serve as mini radios and run the software needed to connect. The devices “pair” covering a short-range interface known as a piconet.

Benefits of a Design Patent

  • Design patents are not as expensive as other patents.
  • By filing a patent on your design, you can keep your design safe from being replicated.
  • Design patents will have no maintenance fees if the design is issued as a patent.
  • The allowance rate is higher and design patents can generally be obtained much quicker.
  • Design patents are generally considered to be advantageous to preventing or stopping wholesale copy. They can also be used to prevent the infringement of product designs

Some Design Patent Examples

Some examples of design patents cover the ornamental designs on jewellery, automobiles or furniture, as well as packaging, fonts, and computer icons such as emojis. Some famous design patent objects include the original Coca-Cola bottle (1915) and the Statue of Liberty (1879).

Design Patent in India

A design patent in India is a patent granted on the ornate design of a practical item. It is a type of industrial design right. A design patent protects only the ornamental manifestation of an invention, not it’s utilitarian of an invention nor its utilitarian features.

A design patent is granted to any person who has imaginary any new and no obvious ornamental design for an article of manufacture. The design patent safeguards only the appearance of an article, but not its architectural or structural or functional features.

Checklist search criteria for design patent Indian database

  • Key string - This is a type of keyword or word combination search, where words can be in the headline or title or description of the product design.
  • Assignee - Searching for the assignee or holder of a patent, such as Microsoft or Samsung, is a great limitation criterion.
  • Patent classification - Using the proper class-action for a patent, it can limit the field of search. For example, the Locarno Classification which is recognized as the international classification for modern and industrial design.
  • Inventor - If you consider that a particular inventor may have used a related design in the past, you can limit your search to specific inventors.
  • Citation - If you believe that a particular type of product is the genesis for many similar designs, you may limit the search by citations to the prior design.
  • Date - Searching for a date can be very helpful. This is especially true if a design would have been more successful or likely of use during a detailed period in time.

Understanding these criteria is a great starting point for searching existing design patents. It also helps to follow through with an organized search

What is the procedure for registering a design patent?

The proprietor of the design should submit a duly completed application form as contemplated under section 5 of the Indian Designs Act 2000 along with the following information.

  • Two copies of six images of the front, rear, top, bottom, left side, right side, perspective view of the article or an invention.
  • Correct name and address of the applicant.
  • Legal status or a statement of the applicant, whether the applicant is an individual, company, etc.
  • The requisite official fee for the design application.
  • The class in which the design is to be designated and the articles to which the design is to be implemented.
  • The plan for which the article is to be utilized.
  • A brief description of novelty on the application along with the representation sheets.

What is the registration process for the design patent in India?

Follow the below steps to register a design patent in India.


Step 1: Write down the invention, idea or concept with the correct details, such as

  • Area of invention
  • Description of invention
  • How does it work
  • Advantages of the invention

Step 2: Include drawings, diagrams or sketches explaining the working of the invention

  • The drawings and diagrams should be created to demonstrate the working of the invention in a better way with visual illustrations. They play a crucial role in the patent application.

Step 3: Verify whether the invention is patentable subject matter

  • All inventions may not be patentable, as per Indian act certain inventions are patentable in detail.

Step 4: Patentability Search

Let’s find out whether your invention meets all patentability criteria as per the Indian patent act such as

  • The invention should be Patentable subject matter.
  • It should be Novel.
  • It should be Non-obvious.
  • The invention should have Industrial application.
  • And it should be enabling.

Step 5: Decide whether to go ahead with patent

The patent reports and views help decide whether to go ahead with the patent or not, chances are what was thought as a novel idea might already be patented, and known to the public in some form of knowledge. Hence, this report saves lots of time.

Step 6: Draft or write a patent application

If you are in the early stages of inventing an idea, you can opt for a provisional patent application. It has the following benefits:

  • It secures a filing date
  • 12 months to file complete specifications
  • Low cost

Filing a provisional patent is an optional step. If you are in a stage where you have the entire information about your invention then you can instantly opt to provide complete specification.

Step 7: Publication of the application

If an application is filed, the patent will be published after 18 months. If you do not wish to wait for 18 months from the date of filing, an early publication request can be made along with the prescribed fees.

Step 8: Request for examination

The application will be examined only after getting a request from the Request for Evidence (RFE). Receiving this request, the controller gives your patent application to a patent examiner who examines the patent application with different patentability criteria which we have discussed from the above steps.

Step 9: Respond to objections.

Based on the examination report, most patent applicants will receive some form of objections. To sort this issue, analyze the report with patent professionals and prepare a response to the objections raised in the examination report.

The communication between the controller and patent applicant is to ensure that all objections raised in the patent applications are resolved.

Step 10: Grant of patent

If the application ID meets all the patent requirements, the application will be placed for the grant. The grant of the patent will be notified from the patent journal which will be published from time to time.

Design Patent Approval

A patent application is queued for examination after it is filed at the Indian Patent Office (IPO). In India, filing a patent application does not essentially mean that an applicant for the patent is requesting the IPO to examine his/her patent application.

In fact, the applicant can refrain from filing a request for examining his/her application, 48 months from the filing date of the Indian patent application. It is examined after the below criteria are satisfied:

  • A request for examination of the patent application has been made.
  • The patent application has been published.

What is the duration of a design patent?

Initially, a protection of 10 years is provided to the proprietor of a registered design with regard to exclusive rights to sell, make or import the articles, and initiating an action against who violates the rules. This initial period of 10 years can be further extended by a period of 5 years on the payment of renewal fees. In India, the maximum validity of a registration under the Designs Act, 2000 can be 15 years.

Design Patent Application

A design patent application preserves the ornamental presentation of an article of manufacture. Design patents do not cover how the invention works, and just how the invention appears. Rather than get involved in the details, it relies exclusively on drawings of the invention’s appearance. For instance, the shape of a beverage bottle, the idea of an electronic guitar, the tread design on a shoe, etc. As a result, the most important portion of a design patent application, is the drawing themselves.

Design patent applications are generally considered to be relatively narrow in scope and have a shorter life span. Despite these constraints, design patents are a very efficient tool for protecting products having an innovative idea, in that they prevent your competitors from replicating the appearance of your designs. Product features can often be as valuable, or even more important, to your customers as the functionality itself.

Documents/ information required for design patents

  • Name, nationality and address proof of the applicant.
  • Patent drawings or photographs in various views.
  • Power of Attorney (can be extended within a month from the date of filing).
  • Certified copy of the priority application (within a month from the date of filing).

Frequently Asked Questions

If you believe that the design or appearance of your product is different, and has never been produced by others earlier, a design patent can be notably helpful to protect the design of your product and to prevent additional competitors from replicating that design for their own benefit.
When something has a trademark, it has markings that designate who makes or markets the product. The purpose of a design patent is not to identify the company that makes the product but instead to protect the elements of the design. A design patent must be a new and unique design that has never been used before. However, trademark a design that is not significantly new, but is associated with your product or services in the eyes of your customer.
Utility patents typically vary from design patents in that they are much wider in range. A utility patent can be used to protect virtually any idea, as long as it is original and has not been patented. Some of the basic types of items protected with a utility patent include:
  • Methods for performing a task
  • Business methods
  • Machines
  • Chemicals
Since design patents are less broad, they are more comfortable to obtain than a utility patent and can only be used for a new or unique design of a physical object.

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