Design Patents

Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. They do not protect the functional aspects of the article of manufacture, but by protecting the novel ornamental features, they can be valuable as part of a larger long-term branding strategy over the "look-and-feel" of a product, similar to the way trademark law can protect a company's registered trade dress. The term of a U.S. design patent is 15 years from the date of issuance.

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