Design patents protect the ornamental and visual design of an item or product. Put simply, a design patent protects the way an article looks whereas a utility patent protects the way an article is used and works.
Protecting the way something looks is often just as important as protecting the way it functions. And for products that feature both ornamental and functional characteristics, design patents offer a strong complement to utility patent coverage and help prevent copycat and substantially similar products from entering the marketplace.
Meunier Carlin & Curfman specializes in harnessing the many business and enforcement advantages of design patents to help companies stand out from the competition and prevent product knock-offs that can damage brand loyalty and revenue. We work with companies that have a strategic reliance on their products’ visual features and that compete in markets based heavily on aesthetics and brand identity. Our clients span a multitude of industries in which design patent protection provides a competitive advantage and is considered a necessity.
Design patents are an important part of a company’s patent portfolio and provide a dependable strategic tool in numerous sectors, including consumer products, fashion merchandising, and technology. Whenever a product’s look or ornamental features are of importance, a design patent should always be considered. Example products that are prime candidates for design patent protection include graphical user interfaces (GUI), smartphone apps, electronics, automotive products, building products, textiles, furnishings and furniture, designer goods, household items, and more.
We work with companies to advise regarding the integration of design patents into a company’s patent portfolio strategy, including assisting our clients to acquire design patents in the United States and throughout the world. Where necessary, we also provide opinions regarding infringement and invalidity, negotiate resolutions to conflicts with competitors, and represent clients before the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board, in federal district courts, and before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on design patent issues.