A design patent is generally reserved for what can be considered an enhancement on an existing material, product, or device that drastically improves or changes the item for useful purposes. Obtaining a patent for design features through the U.S. Patent Office is typically done via a patent lawyer and must meet a strict standard of criteria before a design patent will be considered.
The U.S. Patent Office handles a large amount of design patent applications, as it is usually easier to come up with a novel, realistically usable, and functional design. Applying for a design patent through the U.S. Patent Office is much easier than applying for a utility patent.
This is based on the ease of paperwork associated with a design patent versus a utility patent. However, it is still recommended that a patent lawyer is used in order to be assured that the required paperwork and patent infringement issues are well handled before the application is submitted to the U.S. Patent Office.
The U.S. Patent Office is more likely to review your patent application if it has been filed on your behalf by a patent lawyer. Patent lawyers are preferred to patent agent by the U.S. Patent Office in regards to patent applications for all types of patents. While it is not absolutely necessary to use a patent lawyer for the filing of a patent application, it is typically the preference of the U.S. Patent Office, as the issues related to patent infringement are determined to be specifically covered when dealing with a patent lawyer.
Patent lawyers have seen an influx of design patent applications concerning computer programming designs and internet enhancements. They have also seen a higher incidence of patent infringement as they relate to these designs. When hiring a patent lawyer, request having a patent search performed in order to adequately avoid issues of patent infringement.
Having done this, you are much less likely to encounter any patent infringement of your own doing and then will be more certain that your design patent application is more likely to be granted. Considering the costs associated with obtaining a design patent, it is highly recommended that your patent lawyer is capable of performing adequate research and being cautious of patent infringement issues.
Patent infringement as it applies to design patents can be frustrating, especially in the computer and technology patent applications. This is because most inventors are determined to earn their bread and butter by creating a new “must have” design feature that will either enhance the internet or create a program that will make computer use easier.
With too many intellectuals brewing up ideas, too many similar or nearly identical ideas are passing in front of the U.S. Patent Office’s review committees. Once again, hiring a competent patent lawyer can help avoid this mess as well as save time and money in the process. A patent lawyer is likely to be able to identify trouble spots before your application is sent to the U.S Patent Office and then the idea can either be reworked, or abandoned entirely while another good idea is thought up.
As disappointing as it may be to hear that there is already a patent pending when you were sure that you had a great idea, it is better to be informed by your patent lawyer before high fees have been paid than it is to find out 18 months later that a patent was already issued for the same idea.
If you went ahead and began marketing your patent pending enhancement, you are now in violation of patent infringement laws and may have fines and court costs which could very well find you in the next several months. Precautions are always taken by the U.S. Patent Office to avoid this scenario, but the possibility exists.
A design patent still requires impeccable paper work, just not nearly as much of it. For the perfection the U.S. Patent Office likes to see, a patent lawyer is definitely the way to go. This way, you can be assured that you are presenting a very professional and acceptable patent idea to the U.S. Patent Office.
Once you have been granted a design patent, or have been notified of your patent pending number, you can then begin the marketing process in order to reap the rewards of your well laid enhancement or invention without significant fear of being in violation of patent infringement laws. This is what you have worked diligently for, so naturally, you will want to celebrate your success when your patent approval finally arrives.