Design Patent Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Design Patent, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Design Patent?

Legal protection afforded a unique artistic design. Design patents do not protection the product’s functionality and lasts for fourteen years.

History and Meaning of Design Patent

A design patent is a type of legal protection provided to protect the unique, non-functional aspects of a particular object. In contrast to utility patents, which protect an object's function or method of operation, design patents are concerned with protecting the way something looks, rather than how it works.

Design patents have been a part of U.S. patent law since the mid-1800s, and they are still commonly used to protect the aesthetic features of a wide range of objects.

In general, design patents last for 15 years from the date they are granted, although this can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Examples of Design Patent

  1. Apple's iPhone design patent: Apple was granted a design patent for the design of its iPhone, which has been the subject of numerous legal disputes with other companies that manufacture similar devices.

  2. Nike's shoe design patent: Nike has numerous design patents covering the unique features and appearance of its various shoes, which are highly sought after by consumers around the world.

  3. Coca-Cola Bottle design patent: Coca-Cola was granted a design patent for its iconic bottle shape in the early 20th century, which helped protect the company's valuable intellectual property and prevent competitors from copying its distinctive packaging.

Legal Terms Similar to Design Patent

  1. Utility patent: A utility patent is similar to a design patent, but it is concerned with protecting the functional aspects of an object, rather than its appearance.

  2. Trademark: A trademark is a type of legal protection that is used to protect a company's brand identity, including its name, logo, and other identifying features.

  3. Copyright: A copyright is a type of legal protection that is used to protect original creative works, including books, movies, music, and other artistic works.