Is a Design Patent Application Right for You?

If you are unsure whether a utility or design patent application is right for your product, the team at Larson and Larson, P.A. in Tampa can help you decide. There are a number of stipulations that determine whether or not your item qualifies to start a patent application process. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Utility vs. Design Applications

When people in Tampa talk about the patent application process, most commonly they refer to utility patent applications. If you go through a utility patent application process protect and are approved, then you have protection over the function of your invention but not the look or outward appearance. The non-functional parts of a product are protected with a design application. Here are some significant differences when it comes to the two types:


  • Protects the functionality of a new and original process, composition of matter, machine, or manufacturing process
  • Requires an in-depth application process form that includes drawings, detailed written description of the invention, how it functions, how it will be used, etc.
  • Valid for twenty years after the application filing date
  • May require maintenance fees
  • The most common type of protection
  • Higher rejection rate


  • Protects a new and original design of a product
  • Requires a less complicated application and drawings
  • Valid for fourteen years after the application filing date
  • Maintenance fees not required in most cases
  • Lower rejection rate

The design patent application process is less complicated because the look of an invention is not as complex to describe and protect the function or composition. Contact an intellectual property lawyer in Tampa for assistance with the application process.

Examples of Articles Protectable by Design Patent Application

With certain products, only the design is eligible for protection because the invention itself has been around for ages. For example, a utility patent application form for a pair of sunglasses would face rejection. The function is not new and original. However, a new innovative idea for a pair of shades can be protected as a design.

Items that gain their value from their unique outward appearance will significantly benefit from this type of protection. This way, you will make sure that fraudulent copies of your item do not receive the profits that belong to you.

Common Questions About the Patent Application Process

What does the patent application cost?

There are a variety of factors that determine your patent application cost. The price ranges depending on the type of trademark you are looking for, any legal assistance you hire, drawing fees, and more.

While it hiring a trademark lawyer to assist you in handling your patent application form is more costly than doing it yourself, it might save you money in the long run as well as improve your chances of success.

How do I know if there is already an item like mine protected?

Before you begin applying, it is vital you perform a patent application search. If another person with a similar design submits a patent application form before you, yours will likely face rejection.  The USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office) website features a database of submissions with a positive patent application status. Check this website to determine whether or not your idea is taken.

Other Tips for Success

Remember to check your patent application status regularly. While the process can be lengthy, it is your responsibility to keep up to date on the requirement and deadlines set by the USPTO. The electronic system used to submit forms also allows you to check your patent application status so inventors can quickly make the adjustments necessary to proceed.

Call Larson and Larson to Protect your Design Today!

If the look of your product is connected to its value, a design patent application is right for you. Let Larson and Larson help you protect your intellectual property. Our team of attorneys in Tampa assist clients in handling the necessary research, creating drawings, and walking clients through the application process from start to finish. Give us a call at 727-546-0660 or contact us today to discuss your product and get the process rolling.