How to Get a Design Patent in 6 Steps
3 minute read
March 27, 2024


At the intersection of creativity and legal protection, you’ll likely find design patents—offering a unique way to safeguard aesthetic innovations.

Contact us for a free consultation.

What are design patents?

  • They protect the ornamental design of a functional item, granting exclusive rights to the appearance, but not the function, of an invention.
  • Unlike utility patents that cover new and useful processes, machines, or compositions of matter, design patents focus solely on aesthetic aspects.
  • Securing a design patent prevents others from making, using, or selling a product with your design, ensuring market exclusivity for your aesthetic innovation.

This step-by-step guide highlights the process of obtaining a design patent, from assessing eligibility to navigating the examination process.

Step 1: Assess your eligibility for a design patent

The basics for a design patent are that your creation must be new, original, and non-obvious compared to existing designs.

Eligible designs can range from the shape of a furniture piece to the pattern on a textile. Understanding what qualifies can help streamline the application process.

To maintain its novelty, the design must not have been disclosed to the public more than 12 months before the application date.

Step 2: Conduct preliminary research

Before applying, research existing design patents to ensure your design is distinct and has not been previously patented.

This research phase is critical in verifying the originality of your design and adjusting your application strategy if necessary.

Step 3: Draft the design patent application

  • Your application should clearly describe the unique ornamental features of your design, emphasizing what sets it apart.
  • High-quality drawings or photographs that accurately represent your design are essential for a successful application.
  • Properly describing and illustrating your design can be challenging—focus on clarity and precision to navigate these hurdles effectively.

Step 4: Fill out the design patent application

Pay close attention to the USPTO’s requirements when filling out the design patent application form to avoid common pitfalls.

Ensure all information is accurate and complete—errors can delay the application process or affect your patent’s enforceability.

Step 5: Submission and the examination process

Once prepared, submit your design patent application to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for review.

  • The USPTO examines applications to ensure they meet all criteria for patentability, which may include correspondence to clarify or adjust a submission.
  • Be prepared to respond to any office actions that may request additional information or modifications to your application.

Step 6: Respond to any office actions

Crafting effective responses to overcome any objections raised by the patent examiner is crucial for advancing your application toward approval.

How to get a design patent: The bottom line

Design patents are one of the best tools for protecting aesthetic innovations, offering a pathway for creative businesses like yours to secure the unique visual elements that distinguish your products in the market.

By understanding the requirements, preparing with care, and navigating the examination process with attention to detail, inventors and designers can successfully safeguard their creative works.

For those new to the process, a free consultation with the intellectual property professionals at Stanzione Patent Law, PLLC, can provide tailored guidance and enhance the chances of securing a design patent.

Reach out to Stanzione Patent Law, PLLC, today to learn how to get a design patent that can protect your future.

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