David A. Burge Co., L.P.A.
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Five Reasons That Favor The Filing Of Design
Patent Applications
Some products have attractive non-functional appearance features that need to be protected. If these attractive features are novel and non-obvious, filing a Design Patent Application that focuses on important attractive features while ignoring features of lesser importance can provide the broad patent protection you want.

Because a Design Patent Application can protect a selected portion of an article of manufacture, it is possible to file a plurality of Design Patent Applications each protecting a different appearance feature or a different set of appearance features -- so each resulting Design Patent will provide broad patent protection of a different scope. See, for example, the drawing figures shown in the right column of the Patent & Trademark Drawings page of this web site -- each of which appears in a different Design Patent.

Simple products such as wire-formed racks that not only are functional but also have a decorative appearance can be far more economically protected by filing a Design Patent Application than by filing for Utility Patent protection.

The Issue Fee one must pay to the USPTO to secure a Design Patent from a Design Patent Application is about half the dollar amount of the Issue Fee one must pay to the USPTO to obtain a Utility Patent from a Utility Patent Application.

A Design Patent obtained by filing a Design Patent Application requires the payment of no Maintenance Fees to keep it in force for its 14-year term. A Utility Patent, on the other hand, requires the payment of Maintenance Fees at 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 years from its issue date -- Maintenance Fees that may total more than $7500 (half this amount if you qualify as a "small entity").

If you would like to learn more about how Design Patents can be used to protect key appearance features of a product, talk
with David Burge. We devote a larger percentage of our patent practice to the preparation and prosecution of
Design Patent Applications than do many other patent and trademark firms.
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Four Reasons For Concurrently Filing
Plural Applications
Filing plural applications concurrently prevents any of the applications from being cited as a "prior art" obstacle to the patentability of any of the other applications.

The scope of patent protection you obtain for a product often can be enhanced by concurrently filing Design Patent Applications to protect appearance features, and a Utility Patent Application to protect functional features.

If you file a Provisional Patent Application to protect functional features without concurrently filing a Design Patent Application to protect appearance features, you may be sacrificing patent rights in the appearance features by creating "prior art" that can be cited by the USPTO against the patentability of the appearance features.

Sometimes Design and Utility Patent Applications are filed concurrently to enable each to serve as something of a "backup plan" for the other -- the hope being that at least one of the two will issue to provide patent protection in a situation where pertinent prior art exists that might pose an obstacle to a grant of patent protection.