What is the Difference between Utility and Design Patent?


Patent protection is given to protect the ownership of the invention. Utility and design patents are the patents to protect the working and design of the invention respectively. Both patents have different functions to perform. While utility patent protects the methods, functions, and working of the invention; design patents protect the physical appearance of the invention.

What are Utility and Design Patents?

Utility Patents

These patents serve the purpose of protecting how the invention works and functions. It is important to protect the invention but there are certain conditions that need to be fulfilled to get a patent. The invention should be novel, there should be no prior art, it should not be obvious, and it should be useful to mankind. It protects various aspects of the invention like:

How it functions: The working of the invention concerned with the parts and machinery involved can be protected using a utility patent. For example, it can protect the important parts of let’s say, a motorbike. It protects the parts or combination of parts of a machine.

Compositions: It can protect the inventions’ process, like the process of a chemical reaction that might give a valuable product. Chemical compositions, pharmaceutical compositions, or biological compositions of any type can be all protected under utility patents.

Article of Manufacture: These are articles that are manufactured with some expertise in the quality like shoes, furniture, etc.

Processes: The processes that are important to yield a useful outcome. The process of preparing vaccines for COVID can be protected under a utility patent. Other methods like using a device or software, etc. can be claimed under utility patents.

Read more: Important Things to Know About Utility Patents

Design Patents

Design patents on the other hand protect the physical appearance of the invention. There are certain inventions that are valuable because of their appearance, so it is important to protect how they look. The design should be unique to be able to cover under a design patent. The shape of the article can also be protected under the design patent. The exterior appearance of the invention can be claimed under design patents and not the interior aspects as the interior aspects are covered under the utility patents. Designs of jewellery, purses, phones, etc. can be protected under design patents.

Also read: Design Patent Details You Need to Know

Difference between Utility and Design Patent

  • A utility and design patent both protect your invention but in different areas. While a utility patent protects the functioning and other technical aspects of the invention, a design patent protects the ornamental aspects of the invention.
  • Utility patent is valid for a period of 20 years from the date of first filing of the application and on the other hand, a design patent is valid for a period of 15 years from the date when you get the patent grant for the invention.
  • Obtaining a utility patent is a long process that can take 3 to 5 years while obtaining a design patent takes a shorter time that is 1 to 2 years.
  • Utility patent process is more expensive than design patent process.
  • Utility patent involves a thorough search of prior arts so as to be sure that your invention is unique and is patentable. This patentability search would help you to save unnecessary costs that might incur if any prior art existed, and you had already applied for the patent.

These differences help the inventor to seek reasonable protection for their invention. Both patents protect different aspects of the invention. One protects the functioning of the invention while the other protects the exterior appearance.

Also read: Patenting an Idea? Know the Importance of Prior-art Search?

Patent Drawings Services at PatSketch

While you choose to protect your invention using either of the ways, it is important to explain your invention in detail and add patent drawings to it. They help in easy granting of the patent. At PatSketch, we provide expert services at lowest prices. We strive to provide the best of services to our customers, with any number of iterations at no extra cost. Visit us to know more or contact us.

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