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What is a U.S. Design Patent?

Written by Waheedan Jariwalla on 15 February 2010

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In a design patent application, the subject matter which is claimed is the design embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture (or portion thereof) and not the article itself. The case of Ex parte Cady refers, not to the design of an article, but to the design for an article, and is inclusive of ornamental designs of all kinds including surface ornamentation as well as configuration of goods.

The design for an article consists of the visual characteristics embodied in or applied to an article.

Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent 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.

Design is inseparable from the article to which it is applied and cannot exist alone merely as a scheme of surface ornamentation. It must be a definite, preconceived thing, capable of reproduction and not merely the chance result of a method.

Visual Characteristics

The design for an article consists of the visual characteristics or aspect displayed by the article. It is the appearance presented by the article which creates an impression through the eye upon the mind of the observer.

Subject Matter of Design Patent

Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a Design Patent may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation on an article, or to both.

Design Inseparable From Article to Which Applied

Design is inseparable from the article to which it is applied, and cannot exist alone merely as a scheme of ornamentation. It must be a definite preconceived thing, capable of reproduction, and not merely the chance result of a method or of a combination of functional elements.

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