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Design Patents: All You Need to Know

What Is a Design Patent?  

A design patent covers only the ornamental design of an object of manufacture. This means essentially that the design patent protects the appearance of a product. And to be eligible for a design patent, the object’s appearance must be novel and non-obvious. So, there must be something unique about the appearance of the object to get a design patent. 

  outline sketch of an electric standing scooter

(Image: is a perspective view showing the top, left, and rear sides of an electric scooter patent design.) 


Why Brand Owners Selling on Online Marketplaces Should Care About Design Patents 

With regards to online marketplaces, such as Amazon, the more protected IP you can show that you have on your product, the better. While a design patent may not always win the day, it’s better to have one than to have nothing to show to support your claims of infringement. 

 What Is the Time Frame and Estimated Cost for a Design Patent? 

It is essential to know that a design patent must be filed within: 

  •  12 months of the first time the product was offered for sale or 
  •  12 months of the first time the product was publicly disclosed 

Expect the United States Patent and Trademark Office to take a minimum of nine months after receiving the design patent application to review and decide on the application.  

 Design Patent: Pros and Cons  

When deciding if you should invest in a design patent, you should consider the potential advantages and disadvantages of protecting your design, including:  


  • An affordable way to protect the appearance of a product.  
  • Provides protection when other forms of IP are not available. 
  • You have exclusive rights to own the intellectual property.  
  • Protection of the aesthetic or ornamental features.  


  • Narrow coverage compared to other forms of IP protections.  
  • The design patent only protects what is in the drawings.  

For example, somebody else can make the same product and not infringe the design patent if the competing product looks different than the one protected by the design patent.  

 Do You Need a Design Patent? | Contact Kelly G. Swartz  

Kelly has experience helping inventors and small businesses strategize to protect and monetize their inventions. If you need help identifying and prioritizing your business’s intellectual property, contact Kelly G. Swartz.