Design Patent Application

The U.S. Patent Act provides for the protection of new, original, and ornamental designs for articles of manufacture.1 What is protectable by a design patent is the design itself – the visual characteristics and appearance – and not the article to which the design is applied. The design patent application process is somewhat a truncated version of the utility patent application process, and design patents themselves differ from utility patents in some very important ways:

  • A design patent has a term of 15 years from the date the design patent is granted.2
  • There are no maintenance fees for design patents.
  • Design patents have just one claim.
  • There is not a Patent Cooperation Treaty international application for design patents.
  • The USPTO will honor foreign priority for a design patent application so long as the foreign application was filed up to six months prior.3
  • There is no provisional design patent application.4
  • A design patent application is not published.5

A design patent application is substantively composed of a specification (preamble, figure description(s), and single claim) and drawings containing the figures.6 Good drawings are extremely important: not only is the drawing the scope of what is to be protected, but insufficient drawings can be fatal to the patent’s validity.7 Drawings which cannot be derived from 3d modeling software (e.g., Solidworks, ProE, etc.) should be professionally obtained. We work closely with up-and-coming industrial design firms in Chicago, such as Patrick Harris of iMagine-it-Tech, to not only render concepts in 3d but also to draft patent illustrations to include in the actual application. Even when drawings can be derived from 3d modeling software, their presentment in an application must be made pursuant to numerous view, broken line, and shading requirements.8

1 35 U.S.C. § 171
2 35 U.S.C. § 173
3 35 U.S.C. § 172
4 37 C.F.R. § 1.78 (a)(4)
5 35 U.S.C. § 122(2)(A)(iv)
6 35 C.F.R. § 1.154
7 35 U.S.C. § 112
8 MPEP § 1503.02

USPTO Design Patent Application File/Search/Exam Fees
37 C.F.R. 1.16(b), (l), (p)

Micro Entity – $190
Small Entity – $380
Normal Entity – $760

USPTO Design Patent Issue Fees
37 C.F.R. 1.18(b)(1)

Micro Entity – $140
Small Entity – $280
Normal Entity – $560

Intake Form

The following Intake Form is designed to elicit, from the Submitter, information sufficient for Ziliak Law to: (i) perform a conflict check concerning Submitter and those on whose behalf Submitter is completing the form; and (ii) evaluate the Invention as submitter hereinafter describes. Please answer the following questions as thoroughly as possible.

Number of Inventors:*


An Inventor is anyone who has contributed to the Invention, and all Inventors are are required to be named in the patent application. An Inventor must be an individual, but an Inventor may assign a portion or all of his/her interest in the Invention to a non-inventor or a business entity. Inventor address cannot be a P.O. Box.

Inventor 1 Name:*

Inventor 1 Address:*