A design consists of the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an article of manufacture. Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface ornamentation.
The patent law provides for the granting of design patents to any person who has invented any new, original and non-obvious ornamental design for an article of manufacture. A design patent protects only the appearance of the article and not structural or utilitarian features.
In the United States, the novelty and statutory bar provisions applying to utility patents apply to design patents. Basically, the design is not novel if the design provided by the prior art is substantially the same design. A design that is not new or novel is said to be “anticipated by the prior art.” Under the patent law, a design that is anticipated is not entitled to patent protection.
At Hoofe IP Law, we can guide you through the patent application process from start to finish.
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