Understanding the Difference Between Utility Patent and Design Patent


There are different kinds of patents available. The most obvious types of patents are utility patent and design patent. So, these types of patent make the inventors wonder how utility patent differs from design patent. While the basic difference remains the part of invention that gets patent rights, there are still more differences between them. In this article, we are going to read about the major difference between Utility Patent and Design Patent. Keep reading the following article to get insight into the major differences between them.

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What is a Utility Patent?

A utility patent protect the functional aspect of an invention. It includes the composition of the invention, working procedure of the invention. For an invention to get patent rights, the invention must be novel. In addition to that, it should serve industrial purpose. An applicant can get a utility patent when he/she inventions:

  • New Process
  • Machine
  • Manufacturing System

A utility patent holder has more control over the invention. For instance- the patent holder can prevent others from using the same invention for years. The patent holder can also generate a new income stream through various ways. In addition to that, a utility patent offers various advantage to the patent holder.

What is the Patent Term for Utility Patent?

Another significant difference between utility patent and design patent is the patent term period. A patent is valid for a certain number of years, after which , it gets expired. The patent term for the utility patent is 20 years. The utility patent will get expired after 20 years. However, the patent holder must pay the maintenance fee for the same.

What are the disadvantages of Utility Patent?

Thought utility patent provides a broader protection, there are many disadvantages of utility patent. One of the few things that can surprise the inventors is the patent cost. The utility patent are expensive to get along with the complexities involved. Getting a utility patent is a time-consuming process. It usually takes two or three years to get a utility patent. You should always be ready to respond to the PTO.

What is a Design Patent?

A design patent protects the ornamentation of the invention rather than protecting the functional aspect of the invention. The major difference between a utility patent and a design patent is that it is much easier to get. In terms of cost, a design patent does not cost much when you compare it with utility patent. Design patent becomes important when the appearance of the product plays an important role. While applying for the design patent, ensure that the design of the product is unique.

What are the disadvantages of Design Patent?

While design patents are easier to get, the only problem with design patent is that they provide narrow scope for the protection. The disadvantage of the design patent is that it only protects the what is displayed in the drawing. To understand it better, let’s take an example. If a competitor produces same product but its appearance is different as your product’s. There is nothing you can do. You can’t take any legal action against the same.

How You Can Apply for A Utility Patent or Design Patent?

A utility patent requires you to provide more detailed information. In order to get a utility patent or a design patent, you should establish the fact that:

  • your product is unique.
  • the design of the invention should also be unique.

Well, there are certain products that can get multiple patents. For instance, you can get both utility patent and design patent on a single product if your invention qualifies for the same. The design should be unique and the invention should have industrial purpose.

Why you should hire PDC?

Patent Drafting Catalyst helps clients from the globe in the IP related matters. We have a team of experts who hold years of experience in drafting patent application, drawing patent illustration and much more. We have helped clients throughout the patent prosecution cycle and yielded incredible success. To know more about our services, get in touch with us or simply click here.

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