WHAT IS A UTILITY PATENT?
UTILITY PATENT EXAMPLE:
Using the same shoe example as Design patent below, let’s say this time the company developed a new tennis shoe that helped a person slide down a roller coaster. What is different about this tennis shoe? While it may look different, the real difference is that this tennis shoe can help you Slide down a roller-coaster. In other words, it “works” different than other tennis shoes. The function of the tennis shoe is protected with a Utility Patent. Utility Patents protect the functionality of the invention, meaning what elements are in the invention and how they work. For this example, a Utility Patent could protect not just a tennis shoe that helps you slide down a roller-coaster, but any type of shoe that can help you slide down a roller-coaster. Utility Patents offer “broader” protection than Design Patent. Utility Patents have a term of 20 years.
DESIGN PATENT EXAMPLE:
Let’s say a shoe company develops a new style of tennis shoe. When the company has finished developing the shoe and is ready to take the shoe to market, they want to protect their investment by filing for a Patent. The tennis shoe the company has developed is a new style of tennis shoe. The tennis shoe works like other tennis shoes but what is different is the look of the tennis shoe. Since the company invested a lot of money developing the tennis shoe, they want to make a return on that investment and inhibit anybody else from making, selling or using a tennis shoe that looks like their tennis shoe. The company will choose to file for a Design Patent to protect their new style of tennis shoe. Since it is the “look” or “appearance” of the shoe that is different, a Design Patent is the best type of Patent to protect the new shoe. If what is different about your invention is the way that it looks, you should file for a Design Patent. Design Patents have a term of 14 years