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Types of Patent Protection: Design Patent

Design Patent

The USPTO grants a design patent for any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.  It ONLY protects the appearance of the product and not its functionality.  The term of a design patent has recently changed from 14 years from the date of issue to 15 years from the date of issue.

Bibliographic Data

Patent Number

Issue Date

Title of Invention *

Inventor *

Assignee (owner)(if any) *

Application Number

Application Date

Prior Publication / Foreign Priority Data *

Related US Application Data *

Term Adjustment Data (if any)

Patent Examiner: USPTO employee who examined the application

Patent Attorney (if any): Legal counsel hired by the inventor

Reference Cited

  • US Patent Documents: *
  • Foreign Patent Documents: *
  • Other publications: * articles, manufacturers' catalogs, industry standards, etc.

Classification Data

International Patent Classification (IPC): Used by more than 100 countries around the world (but not the U.S.)

US Patent Classification (USPC): * Used for classifying U.S. design patents.

Field of Search: * US classes cited by the examiner


Because design patents only protect the outward appearance of the invention, the application may only include a single claim.  Typical language for a claim is:  "The ornamental design for [object] as shown and described."

See Section 1500 of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) for further detail.

* Can be searched to yield other relevant patents

Portion of a Toothbrush


  • Applicant name
  • Title of design and brief description of its intended use
  • Cross reference to related applications
  • Statement regarding federally sponsored research: if applicable
  • Description of the drawing: front elevation, top view, side view, etc.


Drawings are an essential element in a design patent.  See Section 1503.02 of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure for the requirements.