A design patent will cost $1,950 to $5,500. Initially, the design patent application will cost $2,000 to $3,500. After submission, examination costs and issue fee will be $1,000 to $2,000.
What are the costs for a design patent?
|Attorney fees:||$1,200 – $3,000|
|USPTO filing fee and issue fee:||$250 to $2000|
|Total:||$1,950 to $5,500|
1. Attorney fees:
You will be spending $1,200 – $3,000 on attorney fees. They will let you know if the design patent application route is better or if you should get a utility patent. Moreover, they should help you layout the drawings so that you don’t make the drawings overly narrow.
2. Design patent USPTO costs:
These are the fees paid to the government. When you initially submit the design patent application, then you have to pay the USPTO filing fee. The amount is based on whether you are a micro-entity, small entity or large entity. If you receive a notice of allowance, then the government fee will be dependent on your entity size. Attorneys will add a few hundred dollars to the fees as a service charge.
|Micro-entity||Small entity||Large entity|
|USPTO Filing fee||$250||$500||$1,000|
|USPTO Issue fee||$250||$500||$1,000|
3. Drawing cost:
If you prepare the 3D CAD drawings, then the patent draftsperson will take those drawings and put them into the proper form for the USPTO. The cost of this service will be about $500. This cost is paid at the time of submitting the design patent application to the USPTO.
For the cost of a utility patent, read: How much does it cost to get a utility patent? To find out if you should file a utility patent or a design patent, read: Deciding what application to file: Design or Utility? and Best uses for design patents
How much does it cost to expedite the design patent application?
The cost to expedite the design patent application will be $2,500. The request to expedite the design patent application requires a preexamination search, an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) and payment of an expedited examination fee.
You can request expedited treatment of your design patent application even after you’ve filed. Unlike a Track 1 request for utility patent applications, you don’t have to decide at the time of filing if you want your design patent application expedited.
Under normal processing, a design patent application will be examined within 14 months to 2 years. Under expedited processing, a design patent application will be examined in about 2 to 4 months.
What are the best practices to reduce cost of a design patent?
Best practice #1: Get your 3D CAD model
You should get the three-dimensional computer-drawn model for your design. Don’t have the draftsperson doing the patent drawings do it.
The patent draftsperson can modify your drawings so that it is acceptable to the standards of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, they are not product designers. They can’t go back and forth with you to make your design look stylistically acceptable to you.
A patent draftsperson can place the CAD file into the following form if provided with the CAD file.
However, if the patent draftsperson did not have a CAD file in hand, then it would probably look like the diagram below, which is not acceptable for a design patent. It is acceptable for a utility patent. Drafts people who work on patent drawings are good for schematic drawings or placing detailed CAD drawings provided by clients into an acceptable form for USPTO purposes.
By hiring a product designer, that person will be able to go through the design iteration process that you need. The product designer can get the product to look just the way that you want it.
Best practice #2: Submit close to the product launch date
You should submit the design patent application as close to the product launch date as possible.
By submitting the design patent application as close to the product launch date as possible, the drawings will most likely resemble the product you are selling.
Here is typically how the product launch progresses. The inventor, you will settle on the product design but won’t be fully satisfied with it. So, you tinker with the design over a period of time. Tinkering with the design is good.
However, for the design patent purpose, the design shown in the design patent should match the product actually being offered and sold in the marketplace. If not, then the product being offered and sold in the marketplace might not actually be patent protected.
To mitigate the risk that you would change the product design after submitting the patent application, one way would be to submit the design patent application as close to the product launch date as possible.
Once you’ve selected your patent attorney to help you through the process, he or she should be able to get the design patent application ready in about 2 to 3 weeks or even sooner if needed. However, the key to select your patent attorney about 6 to 8 weeks in advance before the product launch date.
If you want to submit it well before the product launch date, then I recommend that you select a milestone in the product development cycle. For example, you might file the design patent application right after you cut the injection molds. Injection molds are very expensive. As such, you have to commit to the design to cut the injection molds. Because of this commitment, you can file the design patent application at this time.
If you significantly change the design after submitting the design patent application, you may have to refile the design patent application. Consult with your patent attorney if you make any changes to the design.
When should you seek a design patent?
Situation 1: Lazy copy cat competitors
Design patents do a good job of providing protection against the lazy competitor. This competitor doesn’t change your design. They merely ask a manufacturer to copy your product.
When your competitor just mimics your design without any thought, the design patent works fairly well at stopping that lazy competitor. However, the competitor can introduce a similar functioning product if they make their product look different.
If this is unacceptable, a utility patent provides better protection, as discussed below.
Remember, design patents protect the look of a design as shown in the drawings of the design patent. That is it. Design patents do not protect the function of the product.
Situation 2: Products sold in sets
If you sell products in sets, then design patents work well to protect the common design feature among the components of the set. For example, if the dining table set contains a unique carving, then it may be a good idea to protect the unique carving of the furniture. Your customers would have to buy your design patented unique carving. Customers would be locked into your brand because you have the patent on it.
Situation 3: Manufacturer selling out the back door
Sometimes, manufacturers will use your molds to make products and sell them out the back door. Unfortunately, they are stealing your business. However, a design patent is effective at stopping this type of behavior. Because your manufacturer is using your own molds, the product that they sell out the back door will be identical to the product shown in your design patent.
Even though a design patent only protects the look of the product, it is effective at stopping this type of behavior. Typically, if your manufacturer is overseas, then it is harder to stop the behavior. However, when their product shows up on Amazon and it looks identical to your product, then you can stop them.
Situation 3: Cool designs
If you have a product that looks cool, then you should consider getting a design patent.
What do you need to provide to your patent attorney to prepare the design patent application?
You need to provide the final design of the product in a 3D CAD model to your patent attorney. The patent attorney cannot finalize design for you. Your patent attorney can review your finalized design and prepare the necessary views from your 3D CAD model.
Does a design patent or utility patent provide better protection?
A design patent provides better protection when you want to protect the aesthetic look of the product. A utility patent provides better protection when you want to protect the functional aspects of the product.
As such, you should get the protection that best suites the aspect of the product you are trying to protect.
Example design patents
Products in all categories can be protected by a design patent. See the examples below.
However, not all products should be protected by a design patent. If you are trying to protect the exact look of a product, then design patents work great. However, if you are trying to protect a general style or feel, then design patents do a poor job of protecting a style or look.
|Lego – “Everything is awesome”|
|Wheel rims – vroom vroom|
|Tire tread patterns|
Is a patent search for a design patent recommended?
A design patent search is generally not recommended because of the high allowance rate for design patent applications.
The allowance rate for a design patent application is significantly higher than the allowance rate for a utility patent application. As such, the cost to conduct a design patent search normally doesn’t make sense.
If you based your design on someone else’s design, you should let your patent attorney know. He or she will have to consider the other person’s patent and determine if your are infringing on the other person’s patent.
What is a poor man’s patent?
A poor man’s patent is a myth. People would tell you to mail a description of your invention to yourself. Because the United States Postal Service is a regular service, you could rely on the mail date to establish a date of invention. Do not do this. Anyone can mail a letter to themselves then open it up and put anything inside of the envelope. The evidence is essentially worthless.