Examples of Design Patents
The design patent is heavily dependent upon the drawings to communicate the features sought to be protected (as opposed to utility patents which rely on the written word to describe how the good is new and unique). The focus of the design patent is on the ornamental design of an article, namely, the visual characteristics or aspects of an object. The filing fee for a design patent starts at $390.00, plus legal fees. Here are a few examples:
Automobile Hood, SLP Performance Parts, Inc. [Design Patent No. D418,465]
Vehicle Wheel Front Face, American Racing Equipment, Inc. [Design Patent No. D367,461]
Cylindrical Pleated Air Filter With Top and Sidewall Filtering Areas, K & N Engineering, Inc. [Design Patent No. D403,414]
Benefits of Design Patent Registration
Like the trademark registration, a valid design patent shows that you are the true owner of the ornamentation that adorns the product. U.S. courts will accept the patent as proof of the exclusivity of the design. Once again, it is the mechanism that allows you to protect your unique intellectual property and then seek protection in the courts.
Examples of Utility Patents
A utility patent protects an object's structure or utilitarian features, but not its ornamental appearance. In other words, it protects how an object operates or functions.
Kearns: Delayed Windshield Wiper System – Patent No. 4,339,698
Humphreys, Breed, and Thuen: Air Bag Assembly for Motor Vehicles – Patent No. 5,348,340