What If It’s Just a Design?
If your invention doesn’t fit one of the four statutory design categories, or if it’s only the shape or appearance you want to protect rather than how it works, you may be better off applying for a design patent.
Design patents are simpler and cheaper to apply for. The specification is short and follows a particular required style. There may be any number of figures, but the specification holds only the descriptions of those figures plus a single short claim, in standardized form, referencing them.
VentorBridge does not normally prepare design patents. The “rough spots” are the same as for a utility patent, but more easily gotten through. You’ll normally have conceived the invention and reduced it to practice already. You can often draw the figures, write that one simple claim, and submit the application yourself. There are seldom any office actions, unless your design is too close to one already patented.
There was that one time, though….
Luna Bug Soap was the creation of a good friend (and one of VentorBridge’s resource experts), Leslie Carson. A web designer by day, by night Leslie developed her soapmaking hobby into a profitable business venture with many eye-, skin-, and nose-pleasing varieties.
A signature item was her “My Georgia” bagged assortment of seven handmade soap bars, each reflecting a common sight or tradition in the state: “Peaches,” “Honeybee, “Vidalia,” “Salted Peanuts,” “Cherokee Rose,” “Joja Red Clay” and “Creepin’ Kudzu.” She asked if I could help prepare a patent for the designs, and I agreed.
Alas, Luna Bug Soap is no more. Some life changes and a move to Florida forced her to close it, and the “My Georgia” patent never issued. But, Leslie has graciously allowed me to share with you the application we wrote together…and, here it is. Enjoy!
You can find a lot more information on filing design patents here.