Call Us: (888) 355 0144

Design Patent vs Utility patent
28 Nov, 2022 0 Editorial Team

When To File A Design Patent vs Utility Patent Application?

When to file a design patent vs. utility patent application? “Patent Menteso” describes here the primary distinctions between the two, and the protocols for each.


Why do utility patents differ from design patents? A design patent only protects an item’s decorative look, such as its shape, structure, and/or surface ornamentation, whereas a utility patent also protects an item’s practical features, such as how it works and is set to use.

When to file a design patent vs utility patent application? When trying to secure protection for an object’s unique outer look, there should be a design patent application. A utility patent application submission is appropriate to protect an item’s use or how it works, including its mechanical structure.

I. What is a Design Patent vs Utility Patent?

(i) Utility vs Design Patent Examples

A design patent protects a product’s distinctive beautiful features, such as its form (e.g., round, cylindrical, etc.) and any surface embellishment (e.g., the pattern of markings, ridges, etc.). A design patent only covers an item’s outer attractive look. Because hidden designs are not visible. And we can not file a design patent application for a hidden or inner design article. The same is true for useful mechanical structures, which are not by nature ornamental, and design patents can not protect them.

In fact, A utility patent protects a product’s function and/or designed usage. An innovation that is useful, new, and non-obvious and that meets at least one of the following four criteria is protected by a utility patent.

  1. Process: Process claims refer to strategies for completing a single action or a set of related activities. Technique statements in utility patents can cover a wide range of topics, for example, methods of curing diseases, methods of putting out an algorithm to safeguard software functionality, ways of using devices, etc.
  2. Devices or groups of devices used in systems are the focus of device claims.
  3. Article of manufacture: includes allegations about industrial goods like shoes, ceramics, and furniture.
  4. Composition of matter: Chemical constituents (such as the chemical structure of a tiny molecule, a pharmaceutical composition made of a variety of substances, etc.) and biological components are the objects of composition claims (e.g., nucleic acid sequences, amino acid sequences, antibodies etc.)

See how our innovative solution may help you protect your IP.

(ii) Utility Patent vs Design Patent Key Differences

While a design patent only protects an item’s visual quality, a utility patent covers an item’s functionalities. A utility patent is harder to obtain than a design patent because it is more difficult and takes longer to get (usually 3-5 years) than a design patent (about 1-2 years).

It is strongly advisable to perform a patentability search before submitting a utility patent application to make it look for previously published patents, patent applications, or other works that are comparable to the idea currently proposed to assess novelty and originality. This is because achieving a utility patent can be expensive and complicated.

A utility patent is valid for twenty years from the utility patent application filing date. An American design patent is valid for fifteen years from the application date. Design patents, once issued, are free from maintenance fees, in comparison to utility patents, which, in order to prevent expiration, require constant updating. Read Patent Menteso’s Ultimate Guide to American Utility Patents for more information on utility patents.

II. When to File a Design Patent vs Utility Patent Application?

when the disputed product has a unique design and it is likely that competitors would replicate it, then It is necessary to submit a design patent application. Applications for design patents are regularly submitted to protect the decorative components of consumer items, including footwear, automobiles, and mobile phones.

Moreover, a utility patent application filing is acceptable when seeking safety for how an article performs, including its mechanical structure, if it is on internal or exterior surfaces of the article, or for the usage of the article. If you want to protect both the attractive appearance of the article and its useful features, you should file both a design patent application and a utility patent application.

III. How to File a Design Patent vs Utility Patent Application

A utility patent application must include a statement set and an invention description. In order to properly explain the innovation, Drawings might be present. Drawings must represent the article’s stunning appearance. It is necessary to specify the article’s creative features and drawings. There must be only one application,along with a brief description of the article’s original purpose. Broken lines may, in some cases, be used in place of the horizontal line in drawings for the visible disputed environmental structure where the claimed creative features are present. Both utility and design application filings must also contain the filing, search, and examination fees.

Any country that needs patent protection has national patent offices where applicants can submit design and utility patent requests. By permitting the filing and processing of a single application, international utility and design patent applications simplify the process of getting patent protection in many nations. This application can then be up to date in countries that require patent protection. International design applications (IDAs) are filed for design patent applications, whereas through the submission of PCT applications, international utility patent applications can run under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

The greatest strategy to stop others from stealing your invention is to stay active after registering your patent. To discover more about how we can help you secure your income by securing your design patent, get in touch with us straight away.