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Design Patent

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
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How To File For A Design Patent


Unfortunately, there are no premade or online forms available to use for the specification and drawings needed for a design patent. The rest of this tutorial will help you create and format your application.

However, there are forms that must accompany your application and they are the: Design Patent Application Transmittal, Fee Transmittal, Oath or Declaration, and an Application Data Sheet. See - Forms & Things For Design Patents

All Patent applications follow a format derived from the patent laws and regulations. The application is a legal document and you should review and reference these materials.

Hot Tip

It will be a lot easier for you to understand the following instructions on how to apply for a design patent, if you read a few issued design patents first. Please take a look at Design Patent D436,119 as an example before proceeding. This example includes the front page and three pages of drawing sheets.

Writng Your Specification

Your specification includes the following elements in order.

Specification - The Preamble or Introduction

Attorneys, Silverman and Stacey define the preamble as "The formal introductory clause of a patent claim. Depending on the circumstances, the preamble defines the single claim required for a design patent. Or the preamble will only define the setting or context in which the elements of the claim appear." (The claim is bolded in the example of a preamble given below.)

The preamble (if included) should state the name of the inventor, the title of the design, and a brief description of the nature and intended use of the invention that the design is connected to. All the information contained in the preamble will be printed on the patent if it is granted.

  • Example:
    I, John Doe, have invented a new design for a jewelry cabinet, as set forth in the following specification. The claimed jewelry cabinet is used to store jewelry and could sit on a bureau.
You may choose not to write a detailed preamble in your design patent application, however, you must write one claim. You can submit bibliographic information such as the inventor's name by using an application data sheet or ADS. An ADS is the common method for submitting bibliographic data about a patent application. In Design Patent D436,119 only uses a claim.
  • Example:
    The ornamental design for eyeglasses, as shown and described.

Choosing the Title

The title of the design must identify the invention that the design is connected to by its most common name used by the public. Marketing designations are improper as titles and should not be used.

A title descriptive of the actual article is recommended. A good title helps the person that is examining your patent know where to/not to search for prior art, and helps with the proper classification of the design patent if it is granted. It also helps the understanding of the nature and use of your invention embodying the design.

  • Examples:
    1: Jewelry cabinet
    2: Concealed jewelry cabinet
    3: Panel for a jewelry accessory cabinet
    4: Eyeglasses

Specification - Cross References

Any cross-references to related patent applications should be stated (unless already included in the application data sheet).

Specification - Federal Research

Make a statement regarding any federally sponsored research or development if any.

Specification - Figure Descriptions of Drawings

The figure descriptions of the drawings tells what each view represents.
  • Example:
    FIG.1 is a perspective view of eyeglasses showing my new design;
    FIG.2 is a front elevational view thereof;
    FIG.3 is a rear elevational view thereof;
    FIG.4 is a side elevational view, the opposite side being a mirror image thereof;
    FIG.5 is a top view thereof; and,
    FIG.6 is a bottom view thereof.

Specification - Special Descriptions (Optional)

Any description of the design in the specification, other than a brief description of the drawing, is generally not necessary since, as a general rule, the drawing is the design's best description. However, while not required, a special description is not prohibited.

In addition to the figure descriptions, the following types of special descriptions are permissible in the specification:

  1. A description of the appearance of portions of the claimed design which are not illustrated in the drawing disclosure (i.e., “the right side elevational view is a mirror image of the left side”).
  2. Description disclaiming portions of the article not shown, that form no part of the claimed design.
  3. Statement indicating that any broken line illustration of environmental structure in the drawing is not part of the design sought to be patented.
  4. Description denoting the nature and environmental use of the claimed design, if not included in the preamble.

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