Difference Between Utility and Design Patent

Utility vs Design Patent

Patent is the exclusive right granted to an inventor by the government to enjoy monetary benefits with the sale or use of the product or service. There are two types of patents granted by the US patent office namely design patent and utility patent. Deciding whether to get a design patent or the utility patent for their product is crucial for inventors. Though utility patent remains the overwhelming patent type, one cannot ignore design patent for certain types of inventions. This article takes a closer look at design patent and utility patent to come up with their differences so as to clear the doubts in the minds of the readers regarding the two types patent.

Utility Patent

This is a patent that is concerned with the functionality of the product. It relates with the manner in which a product or a machine is used and operated. This patent, when granted to the inventor, protects the working procedure of a machine or the processes involved with it. If an inventor has made a new pump to lift water and transport it to a height, he can claim a utility patent only if the method of working of the pump is any different from pumps that are already there in the market. It is only when the authorities are convinced that the product works in a novel way and the processes involved are certainly new and not used by other manufacturers that the inventor is granted a utility patent. This enables him to get the monetary benefits for a limited period of time with its manufacture on a commercial basis.

Design Patent

As the name implies, a design patent is concerned with the outward appearance or the looks of the machine or the product and it has nothing to do with its working procedure. This patent is easier to get for a machine as the inventor can obviously make a design that is apparently very different from the rest of the machines available in the market. A design patent is ornamental in nature, and it prevents others from copying the design for a limited period of time for which the patent has been granted to the manufacturer.

Utility Patent vs Design Patent

• Design patent is granted for the outward appearance whereas utility patent is granted for the working processes involved in the product.

• Design patent is easier to obtain as one only has to make ornamental differences in an existing product or machine whereas utility patent requires originality in terms of working procedures.

• Utility patent protects utility or functionality whereas design patent protects appearance or design.

• It is difficult to protect design patent as people make slight variations in design to circumvent it.