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Archive for the ‘Design Patent Limitations’ Category

Understanding the Limitations of a Design Patent

Inventors can obtain three different types of patents in the United States, namely, plant patents, utility patents, and design patents. Plant patents are rare and are used to protect a new plant that the inventor has produced asexually (without using seeds). A utility patent can be used to protect the way a new technology functions and is used. A design patent protects the visual characteristics of an item.   There is often confusion among inexperienced entrepreneurs and inventors regarding the differences between utility and design patent protection. It is important to understand that a design patent protects only the appearance of an article and not its structural or functional features. It is different than a utility patent because it offers no protection for the way an article works and can only protect the unique visual