There are several easy steps to file a design patent online in the United States. The USPTO grants design patents for the unique ornamental design on new inventions. When properly filed, your design patent application will protect the appearance, shape, and other specific characteristics about your invention. This way, you can exclude others from manufacturing, using, or distributing your design. Of course, in order to be granted protection, your application must be perfectly prepared and submitted. Simultaneously, your design must be genuinely novel and non-obvious. To help you navigate this complicated process, it is highly recommended to hire an experienced design patent agent. This way, you can apply for a patent online with ease. Read on to learn about how to file a design patent online in the United States.
Separate Utility From Design Aspects
First and foremost, you need to separate utility and design aspects of your US patent application. As mentioned earlier, your design patent application only protects the ornamental characteristics of your invention. Therefore, it is important to separate design from its function or utility. To do so, clearly outline the specifics of your invention. Separate the characteristics of ‘what it does,’ from ‘how it looks, feels, or appears.’ This way, you are effectively prepared to file your design patent online in the United States.
Speak With A Registered Patent Agent
Next, speak with a USPTO registered patent agent to help you prepare your design application. Since you are looking to file a design patent online, you do not have to worry about choosing an agent based on geographic boundaries. Instead, read some reviews, browse the internet, and ask your friends for referrals to help you find the best online design patent filing company. With the help of a knowledgeable agent, you can access peace of mind, process expertise, and procedural execution. Of course, an experienced agent can help you manage complexity, properly prepare your application, and navigate the challenging IP landscape. Surely, hiring a registered agent is an important step to obtain your design patent application.
Get A Patent Search Report
Now, you are ready to get a patent search report for your original design. You want to make sure that no similar, comparable design references exist. There’s always a chance that someone may have already patented an idea similar to yours – without you even knowing it. Even if by pure coincidence, you need to make sure nobody already has intellectual property over your idea. A comprehensive search report will help you reduce redundant research, lower your risk of infringement, and accelerate the time to patent acceptance. Work with your design patent attorney to learn more about costs, filing options, and processing time.
Prepare Your Design Drawings
With the help of your online design patent agent, prepare some sophisticated drawings. Ultimately, your illustrations or drawings are one of the most important parts of your design patent application. To prepare your drawings, first decide on whether to use photographs or hand-drawn illustrations. Whichever method you choose, be sure to next prepare multiple views of the design. At a minimum, you want to clearly display the top, bottom, and both sides of your invention. At the same time, strategically utilize shading to show the approximate dimensions and contours of your design. Since preparing your drawings by hand can be incredibly complex, it is heavily recommended to work alongside a design patent filing professional. These experts can coordinate with professional design teams and patent artists to prepare accurate drawings that resemble your invention.
Capture Some Photographs
In addition to your drawings, you may want to take some photographs of your novel design too. These will serve as further visual disclosure and proof of your claim. Be sure to use a high-quality camera, so you can capture everything clearly. The USPTO requires that images be black-and-white, along with a few other formatting guidelines. Oftentimes, photos are recommended for simple, easy-to-understand inventions. For something more intricate, you may want to go for drawings. This way, you have all the extra room needed for detail. Surely, capture some clear images before filing for a design patent electronically.
Organize Your Submittal Documents
At this point, it is time to get all your documents in order for design patent filing. Along with your drawings and patent fees, there are several additional forms that must accompany your application. For a start, you need a brief preamble – which specifies the inventor name(s), design title, and description. You’ll also need an executed declaration or oath. Plus, attach any cross-references, patent search results, and figure specifications. Certainly, prepare all your necessary submittal documents for successful online USPTO patent filing.
Try To Minimize Costs
Before you submit your application, think about any possible ways to minimize design patent prosecution costs. Believe it or not, working with an experienced, USPTO-registered attorney is likely the best way to keep costs low. With their help, you can avoid costly errors, accelerate time-to-filing, and maximize your chances of USPTO acceptance. After all, these IP professionals are well-versed in all the intricacies and complexities of US patent law. If you try to file yourself, you’ll end up encountering way more fees, fines, and penalties in the long run. Absolutely, think about ways to minimize costs before filing for design patent protection online.
File Your Application
With your drawings accurately prepared, it is now time to file your design patent application online. Submitting your patent application online, your hired agent will likely use the USPTO’s online EFS-Web filing system. This way, you can easily file all parts of your application, pay the required fees, and await office response entirely online. After your application is submitted, your agent will closely work with your examiner to get your patent approved. Following office approval, you are simply required to pay the USPTO fee for your patent to be issued. Once your patent application is officially processed, you have now received design patent protection years for up to fifteen years.
Respond To USPTO Comments
After submitting your design patent application, you’ll likely need to respond to comments from the USPTO. Right after submission, your patent attorney will likely receive an official notice of receipt. This will also contain the application number, date received, along with information regarding your Patent Office examiner. Most commonly, applications are rejected the first time around. The USPTO will ask for specific revisions, comments, and suggestions before acceptance. Definitely, carefully respond to USPTO comments during design patent drafting and filing.
Plan On Design Patent Conversion
Now that you have received your US online design patent application, you can begin planning for conversion. As previously mentioned, a design patent will not protect any functional aspect of your invention. However, if your product serves a unique function or utility, you may want to consider applying for intellectual property protection as well. Of course, functional invention protection is achieved through a full non-provisional utility patent. In terms of scope of rights, utility patents provide a much broader sense of protection compared to design applications. This way, you can obtain full invention protection for your unique product.
There are multiple sophisticated steps to successfully file a design patent online in the USA. First and foremost, you need to separate utility and design aspects of your US patent application. Next, speak with a USPTO registered patent agent to help you prepare your design application. At the same time, your illustrations or drawings are one of the most important parts of your design patent application. With your drawings accurately prepared, it is now time to file your design patent application online. Now that you have received your US online design patent application, you can begin planning for conversion. Follow the steps outlined above to learn about how to file a design patent online in the United States.