Protecting your Design in the USA
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Design registration is treated differently in the USA than it is in Europe,
instead of being a separate right it forms part of the patent system.
The definition of a design is “the visual ornamental characteristics embodied
in, or applied to, an article of manufacture.”
In order to qualify for registration as a design patent the design must
satisfy the following three criteria:
- It must be new.
- It must be original.
- Be an ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
On the basis of this an 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. It only protects the
appearance of the article and not structural or utilitarian features.
Where a design does not consist of any unique or distinctive shape or
appearance which is not dictated primarily by the function of the article any
attempt to register it will fail under the third requirement.
The period of protection available in relation to design patents is 14 years.
In terms of filing fees, the US Patent and Trademark office makes special
provision for those who qualify for small entity status; this is defined as
independent inventors, small businesses and non profit organisations. Applicants
who fall within this category are eligible to pay the lower level of fees, in
relation to the application and after registration maintenance of the right, a
reduction of 50% on the normal level.
About the Author
Lawdit Solicitors offer services and
advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal
agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on
Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the
International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court
Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign
association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-06-17 21:33:48 in Legal Articles