Difference Between Utility and Design Patent

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 15, 2022


Difference Between Utility and Design Patent Difference Between Utility and Design Patent

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The government's exclusive right to profit financially from the sale or use of a good or service is known as a patent. A patent enables you to safeguard your ownership rights in an innovation that you have made. Patents provide inventors the only right to produce, market, and utilize their inventions for a set amount of time; as such, they are a type of limited monopoly. Protecting things from being duplicated or stolen is crucial when you own something distinctive or develop something original. And the patent is very useful. Many items either need patents or have been developed. There are several sorts of patents that work to protect them all. Utility and design patents are the first two categories. Trademark protection called a utility patent ensures that an investor has complete control over his or her creation.

The most popular type of patent is the utility patent. It includes both the utilization of innovation and its functional aspects. The only person who may use, manufacture, or sell an invention protected by a patent is its owner. When you develop a new design for an existing product, you use a design patent. Patents for designs shield an invention's aesthetic components. When an innovator creates a brand-new, unique decorative design for the exterior of a manufactured item, they must get this patent.

Utility vs Design Patent

The key distinction between a utility patent and a design patent is who is seeking it and why it is needed. Utility patents are typically used by investors or investors to protect an innovation or method of doing something specific. While design patents, as the name suggests, are typically used by designers to secure or protect their distinctive designs or outlook of a particular product, the attorney's fees are less for these patients. As a result, they are more expensive in terms of attorneys' fees and have a lower likelihood of office action rejection.

A utility patent is sought by someone who makes an original investment or discovers a way to do something different to protect their discovery or creation. The claim scope is one of the primary distinctions between utility and design patents. The phrase "claim scope" refers to the level of protection the patent holder is receiving. The limits in a utility patent serve as a guide for third-parties as to what is covered. The extent of protection for a design patent can only be found in the drawings. Although the same illustrations may be used in both a design patent and a utility patent, the utility patent's protection is based on the text used to explain the pictures.

The method used to detect patent infringement also differs between utility and design patents. The claimed product and the design patent drawings are compared side by side to determine whether infringement has occurred. The goal of this comparison is to see how comparable the two designs would appear to a neutral observer. The similarity should be sufficient to trick the onlooker into thinking one thing is the other and buying it. To assess if all limitations contained in the patent claims are present in the allegedly infringing product, one turns to the patent claims for utility patent infringement.

Difference Between Utility and Design Patent in Tabular Form

Table: Utility vs Design Patent
Parameters of Comparison
Utility Patent
Design Patent
Who seeks it
Investors and designers
20 Years
14 Years
Protection for Invention
It keeps it safe.
It is not shielded by it.
Probability of Rejection
Significantly lower.
Considerably more

What is Utility Patent?

Trademark protection called a utility patent ensures that an investor has complete control over his or her creation. The sole utility it has is to safeguard the subject's functional processing component. A utility patent holder has a lot of influence. A few general categories, such as manufactured goods, methods, and compositions, can be used to categorize utility patents. To be eligible for a utility patent, an invention must be beneficial, new, and non-obvious. Each of these phrases has a distinct function and significance in a patent, and if any of them are missing, the application for a utility patent will be rejected right away. The content, function, or structure of the invention is safeguarded by the utility patent. An owner of a utility patent has more authority over the innovation. The owner of a patent can make money in a variety of ways while preventing others from exploiting the same idea. One of the few drawbacks, even though it offers greater protection, is the cost associated with obtaining a Utility patent. Additionally, it is a lengthy procedure that often takes three years.

Novel: this implies that your innovation must be original and not already be in existence. The knowledge or use of the topic should not be done by anybody before the invention of the subject.

Non-obvious: If the improvements or innovations are too evident for someone with equivalent skill in the handicraft to which the inventor's topic pertains, the application will still be denied even after the new component has been taken into account. As a result, it may once more be rejected.

Useful: The invention must be practical in some way. If your idea is worthless or has no practical use to society, you won't go past the application stage.

If all of the aforementioned requirements are met, the application can be approved, and you will receive your utility patent.

What Benefits and Drawbacks Does a Utility Patent Have?

When an innovator obtains a utility patent, their invention is well protected by the law. A utility patent benefits the creator financially and can enable them to dominate the market for their creation. Getting this patent might potentially draw in investors. Pursuing a utility patent is expensive due to the complicated legal requirements of the application process. The procedure also doesn't finish when the patent is granted. The management of ongoing maintenance costs and ongoing defense against competitors' infringements is under the purview of the patent holder.

Benefits of Utility Patent

  • Maintains the useful, practical parts of your creation
  • A utility patent can offer extensive protection that goes much beyond the initial concept, depending on the field of invention and the inventiveness of the invention.
  • Can shield a whole class of goods as opposed to just one, a particular interpretation of a notion.
  • They provide extensive intellectual property protection, making it challenging for a rival to reproduce your innovation without violating it.
  • With only one utility patent application, they can safeguard a number of your invention's practical characteristics.

What is Design Patent?

When a product's look is crucial to its success, design patents are crucial. It offers the ability to legally secure the designs. It's critical to safeguard the aesthetics of particular technologies since their appearance might add value. To qualify for a design patent, the design must be original. Patents on designs only protect what is seen in the drawing. When you come up with a fresh design for an established product, you are awarded a design patent. A design patent is open to everyone. A utility patent differs significantly from a design patent in that it is considerably simpler to obtain. A patent application costs far less than a utility patent application, but there is a significant chance that it may be refused or delayed. Only the subject's look is covered; neither the subject's quality nor how it functions are mentioned. Thus, even if two objects are constructed of the same material, the owner of a patent may not be certain of the other party.

If all conditions are met, and the agreement is valid for 14 years without renewal costs. The product as a whole or a specific component that you want to secure or protect might both be patented. A design patent's drawback is that it only offers minimal patent protection. It only protects the things that are shown in the drawings. If a rival copies your product but alters its look, there is no design patent infringement. Something that is both useful and ornamental is protected by a design patent.

What are a Design Patent's Benefits and Drawbacks?

Compared to utility patent applications, design patent applications are more likely to be approved. Additionally, processing design patent applications are quicker. Multiple design patents are frequently obtained for the same object since acquiring a design patent is quick and inexpensive.

A design patent can only protect a certain number of things, which is unfortunate. Without violating the patent, a rival can modify the design of their idea significantly.

Benefits Of a Design Patent

  • Historically, design patent applications were more likely to be granted than utility patent applications.
  • Design patent applications are examined faster than utility patent applications. Instead of having to wait two or three years for a utility patent application to be submitted, design patent applications may be reviewed and issued within a year. You'll be able to patent your product more rapidly as a consequence.
  • The design patent works best when the design is essential to the selling of the product.

How Can a Utility Patent or Design Patent Be Obtained?

A utility patent application takes longer to submit than a design patent application. This comprises:

  • Demonstrating the special use of the device.
  • Include the terms from the inventor's claim that explain what the thing does for a utility patent, the claim language is important.

Remember that the same product is covered by both utility and design patents. Yes, some laws prevent patenting twice. This is typically not a problem, though, because utility and design patents are so dissimilar. Additionally, an innovator could try to secure a copyright and trademark for their creation.

Multiple design patents may be required for some items. Each would discuss a certain physical aspect of the suggested product.

Main Difference Between Utility and Design Patent In Points

  1. Different parties utilize and apply for both patents. Design patents are utilized by both investors and designers, but usually by designers to protect their distinctive and original designs. Utility patents are used by investors who invest in things that work or for experimentation.
  2. Patent kinds are separated based on what they protect, and they are utilized to provide protection. A design patent is intended to protect decorative protection, but a utility patent is used to protect a subject's usage or utility.
  3. Both of them run out of time eventually. A utility patent offers extra years of protection or a longer time frame for utility protection. Unlike a design patent, which expires after just 14 years, it protects for 20 years.
  4. Utility patents also protect the invention or the way the thing operates, whereas design patents simply cover the design or the appearance of the work.
  5. Both of them have different initial filing attorney's fees and ongoing prosecution attorney's costs. The prices for utility patents are often greater than the less expensive fees for designer patents.
  6. The likelihood of an office action rejection for a design patent is higher than it is for a utility patent.


Both of them protect various sorts of subjects, therefore understanding the differences is crucial if you want to select the patent that will best serve your needs. If a patent cannot adequately protect a subject, anyone may be able to exploit it by finding a loophole. It is crucial to use a patent to safeguard your innovative idea. Different patent protections exist, and choosing the right one may save an inventor time and money while offering the greatest level of protection.

Therefore, you should think about submitting both a utility patent application and a design patent application if your innovation not only has a unique function but also a unique look. Utility patent protection often covers the practical components of an invention, whereas design patent protection is primarily concerned with aesthetic and decorative qualities. In addition to this, there is another kind of patent, which, as its name says, protects special and distinctive plants with the ability to procreate.



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"Difference Between Utility and Design Patent." Diffzy.com, 2023. Thu. 23 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-utility-and-design-patent-619>.

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