Young inventor working on design patent
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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

A design patent is a powerful tool that can help creators protect the unique appearance of their inventions. In the competitive landscape of today’s market, having a design patent can provide a distinct edge, offering exclusive rights to the design and preventing others from using it without permission. This guide will walk you through the process of filing a design patent application, enabling you to safeguard your innovation with confidence.

Step 1: Pre-application Process

Before you dive into the process of filing a design patent application, it’s crucial to conduct thorough initial research. You should check whether a similar design patent already exists to avoid potential disputes and rejections down the line. This may involve a diligent search in the patent database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or consulting with a patent attorney. It’s essential to understand the originality of your design in the context of existing patents, as it significantly impacts your chances of approval.

Next, you’ll need to develop precise concept drawings and design illustrations that accurately represent your invention. These illustrations serve as the backbone of your application, as they provide a visual explanation of your design. Make sure that your drawings meet the USPTO’s specific guidelines regarding line thickness, shading, and views. Additionally, keep detailed records of your design process, such as sketches, prototypes, and revisions. This documentation could prove invaluable in showing the development and uniqueness of your design.

Step 2: Completing the Design Patent Application Form

The USPTO has a standard design patent application form that provides a framework for your submission. This form comprises various sections: 

  1. Preamble: This includes the name of the applicant, title of the design, and a brief description of the nature and intended use of the product that embodies the design.
  2. Cross-References to Related Applications: If applicable, this section would include any information about related patent applications.
  3. Statement Regarding Federally Sponsored Research or Development: This section is necessary if the design resulted from work supported by federal funds.
  4. Description of the Figure(s) of the Drawing: This section provides a brief description of the various views of the drawings.
  5. Feature Description: This is a detailed description of the design which points out the unique aspects and features of the design as shown in the drawings.
  6. Single Claim: Unlike a utility patent, a design patent application only includes a single claim that defines the design which the applicant wishes to patent.  This claim should be carefully crafted to articulate the novelty of your design. 
  7. Drawings or Photographs: These are clear and thorough visual representations of the design from multiple angles. Ensure that the illustrations are clear, well-structured, and compliant with USPTO guidelines. They should visually represent your design from all necessary angles and include any important details that help define its uniqueness. 
  8. Executed Oath or Declaration: This is a statement by the inventor asserting that they believe themselves to be the original inventor of the design claimed in the application.

Step 3: Submitting the Design Patent Application

Once you’ve meticulously filled out your application, double-checked the details, and prepared the necessary documents, it’s time to submit your design patent application. The submission can be done through the USPTO’s online Electronic Filing System (EFS) or via mail. However, submitting online is faster, allows instant confirmation, and enables easy tracking of your application’s status, making it the preferred method for most applicants.

Upon submission, you’ll be assigned an application number, which is crucial for tracking your application’s progress. You can regularly check the status of your application through the USPTO’s Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system. This period of waiting for the application review requires patience as the process can take anywhere from a few months to over a year. However, the status updates provided by PAIR will ensure you’re not left in the dark about the progress of your design patent application.

Step 4: Post-submission and Grant

After the submission of your design patent application, it enters the USPTO’s review pipeline. This involves a thorough examination by a patent examiner to ensure your design is novel, non-obvious, and eligible for a design patent. Be prepared for possible rejections or objections. This is a common part of the process, and you’ll have opportunities to address any issues identified by the examiner.

When your application has satisfied all the USPTO’s requirements, the office will issue a notice of allowance. This notice doesn’t mean your patent has been granted yet; it’s a green signal indicating that your application is in order and the patent will be issued once the issue fee is paid.

After the payment is received, the USPTO will officially grant your design patent. This marks the culmination of your efforts, where you secure exclusive rights to your design, a significant accomplishment worth celebrating! Now, it’s time to leverage your design patent to gain a competitive edge in the market.

Let Bold Patents Help You with Your Design Patent Application

Navigating the design patent application process can be intricate and challenging, but the protection and competitive advantage it offers your unique design are well worth the effort. Remember, you don’t have to tread this path alone. At Bold Patents, our team of experienced patent attorneys is ready to assist you through every step of the application process. Reach out to us today, and let’s turn your innovative design into a protected asset that can drive your success in the marketplace.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at