We touched on utility patents in an earlier post, so let’s now talk about design patents. While utility patents generally protect the way an article is used, i.e., its function, design patents protect the way an article looks. A single invention may be protectable with both a utility and a design patent. Moreover, a product that is protectable by design patent may also be further protectable by trademark or trade dress registration.
What is a patent?
A patent is a legal document issued by the U.S. government, namely the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office or USPTO, that gives the owner of the patent (“patentee”) the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the patentee’s invention. There are three basic types of patents – utility, design and plant. Utility patents are discussed here and design patents will be discussed in a separate post.
There are few worse feelings than seeing the work that you produced being used by someone else without permission. I have talked to many creative, small businesses, or freelancers, who are frustrated when they discover that their work has been duplicated. It is a violation of their hard work. Also, when you are boot-strapping your business, it is extremely frustrating to see someone else benefit from your efforts and gain the rewards when you really need those rewards coming to you instead to keep your business afloat.
In this series of posts, I’m going to discuss how to protect your Intellectual Property (“IP”). We’ll start with some definitions here because the difference between each category sometimes gets confusing. The most important part of protecting your IP is knowing what type of IP you have.
Author: Aimee Haynes
I motivate, I blog, I listen, I give advice, I help, I create, I work with others, I stand my ground when needed, and I am always open to new ideas. In addition to the qualities that define me most, I'm also a Corporate Law attorney working with entrepreneurs, creatives, and small businesses to help them achieve success..