How To Get a Patent on Your Design
3 minute read
April 18, 2024


The former CEO of IBM, Thomas Watson Jr., once remarked that a “great design will not sell an inferior product,” but it can enable your great product to achieve its maximum potential. 

However, that potential can’t be accessed if someone else can steal your designs. You need to know how to get a patent on your designs. 

Design patents are vital tools for protecting products’ unique appearance. They offer inventors and designers legal recourse against unauthorized copying and use. 

This article outlines the process for obtaining a patent on—specifically—designs, drawing from various industries to illustrate the breadth of applications for design patents.

Get a free consultation now.

Are design patents easy to get?

While the process of obtaining a design patent is generally more straightforward than that for a utility patent, it still has a fundamental requirement of a clear, novel, and non-obvious design. 

The design must be tied to a particular product and cannot be purely ornamental or abstract art. 

With proper preparation and a clear understanding of the requirements, obtaining a design patent can be achievable.

Steps to securing a design patent

To give you a better idea about whether or not your design is patentable, let’s review the steps to getting a design patent.

Understand what can be patented

A design patent covers the ornamental design of a functional item, including:

  • Shapes
  • Surfaces
  • Configurations

It does not protect the functional aspects of an item, which are covered under utility patents.

Document your design

Prepare clear and comprehensive drawings or photographs of your design from all angles, highlighting the unique ornamental aspects—the more detailed your documentation, the better you can illustrate the novelty of your design.

Conduct a patent search

Before applying, search the USPTO database and other design patent databases to ensure your design is unique and has not been previously patented or disclosed.

Prepare your patent application

A design patent application must include:

  • Drawings or photographs of the design
  • A brief description of the drawings
  • A claim (a formal statement that defines the design you seek to protect)

File your application with the USPTO

You can file your design patent application online through the USPTO’s website. Ensure all required fees are included with your submission.

Respond to USPTO actions

After filing, a USPTO examiner will review your application. 

This review might lead to objections or rejections based on similarities to existing designs, among other issues. 

Be prepared to respond to these actions, potentially amending your application to overcome the examiner’s objections.

Finding the right help for your design patent

Securing a design patent—while less complex than a utility patent—benefits significantly from professional guidance. 

A patent attorney or agent, especially one with experience in design patents, can help navigate the application process, conduct a thorough search, and respond effectively to USPTO actions.

Stanzione & Associates, PLLC, has the patent experience you need

A design patent can be an invaluable asset, protecting the unique visual characteristics of your product and enhancing its commercial value. 

A deep understanding of the legal requirements can make the difference between leveraging your designs to their maximum value or not. 

Reach out to Stanzione & Associates, PLLC, today. The initial consultation is free and could be your best choice for securing a design patent and safeguarding your creative investments.

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