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Patent vs Design: What’s the Difference?


Last Updated on June 22, 2024 by Sachin Jaiswal

Patents and designs are both types of intellectual property that protect original ideas. These two types of protection are mostly different: designs protect how a product looks or the appearance of a product, while patents protect how it works or the method of operation. Patents cost more and are harder to get because they cover ideas for 20 years. Designs that are simpler and less expensive are protected for 10 years. Both can be listed for the same object, protecting different aspects of it.

Difference Between Designs and Patents

What is?

What is a patent?

A patent is a formal right that lets the inventor make, use, or sell their invention without anyone else’s permission for a set amount of time, usually 20 years. Patents can be classified into three main groups:

●     Patents of Utility: Utility patents are those patents that protect the function, method, or workings of an idea. This covers novel, useful methods, tools, manufactured things, or material compositions.

●     Patents of Design: Design patents protect a product’s looks or decorative design rather than its usefulness.

●     Patents of Plants: Plant patents guard new and unique asexually reproducing plant verities.

An idea needs to be novel, non-obvious, and practical to be provided a patent. A new pharmaceutical medicine, for instance, that cures a once-incurable disease would probably fit these conditions and be qualified for a utility patent. The patent owner can then forestall anyone from inventing, the use of, or selling the protected idea at some stage in the duration of the patent.

What is a Design?

The intellectual property of the design kind protects a product’s look. It puts the beauty ahead of the usefulness. A design has to be original and new to be secured. Included in the criteria for design registration are:

●     Newness: The design cannot have been given to the public or published before.

●     Originality: The design needs to be very different from other designs or mixtures of designs that are already known.

Designs include things like the unique shape of a bottle, the pattern on a piece of cloth, or the packing of a product. Usually given for ten years, design protection may be continued for a further five years. Design security is particularly crucial for businesses like fashion, consumer goods, and packages that depend much on visual appeal.

Variations in Forms of Protection

Variations in Forms of Protection of patent

A patent guards an invention’s function, process, or workings. It defends a product’s basic ideas and technological traits. A new mobile phone, for instance, would have its basic technology and functions covered by a patent.

Variations in Forms of Protection of design

In contrast, design rights protect a product’s attractive appearance. They contain the form, arrangement, design, decoration, and other visual aspects; thus, a patent would protect its internal workings, whereas a design registration would cover a smartphone’s unique exterior look and feel.

In this way, creators can protect the technical and aesthetic components of the same product through patents and design.

Difference in Registration Procedure

Designs and patents are filed in rather different ways. A more complex and time-consuming process, patent registration involves a number of phases, including patentability search, patent specification writing, filing of patent application, and examination. Years may pass while this process is finished; acceptance of a utility patent often takes two to three years. In comparison, design registration is a quicker and easier process that usually takes a few months to finish. Filing a design application is the first step in the design registration process; approval and review follow.

Because of the many laws and review processes, the patent registration method is longer and more difficult. Patent applications need thorough specs and a thorough search to ensure that the idea is original and not obvious. Because this process can be lengthy and costly, this can be a sizeable investment for inventors.

Conversely, design registration focuses on the product’s aesthetics and is a quicker and easier process. Design applications more cheaply protect a product’s visual components because they need fewer standards and a less stringent testing procedure.

Difference in Registration Fees

Patent Registration fees

The strict filing process often makes patent registration more expensive than design registration. Patent applications require detailed specifications and a great deal of planning, which can take a long time and cost more than design applications. Writing and filing a patent application takes time; for example, the cost of a patent application is higher.

Design Registration fees

The less onerous application method makes design filing less expensive. Comparing design applications to patent filing, the former is a speedier and easier process that must show that the design is new and original. As filing a design is far less expensive than getting a patent, it is a more economical way to protect a product’s visual attractiveness.

Difference in the Protection Period

The difference in protection terms between patents and designs is quickly described here:

Protection Period of patent

Patent protection lasts longer than design protection does most of the time. Standard protection for patents is 20 years from the date of application filing. The stricter standards and screening process for getting a patent account for this longer time.

Protection Period of design

Generally speaking, registered designs have a far shorter security period—roughly ten years from the design application filing date. Since design registration is more about looks than core functions, it is quicker and easier than patent registration.

Certain inventions, especially medicines, may have even longer patent protection periods—up to 25 years. This longer term is often allowed to make up for the time-consuming clinical trials and governmental approval processes needed for new medications.

When to Select?

When to Select Patent Protection?

When an innovation’s functionality and technical features are important, patents are the best kind of intellectual property security. This is especially true for sectors like these, where innovation and technological growth are critical:

●     Pharmaceuticals: Patents usually guard new medicine ingredients and formulas from rivals copying the invention.

●     Technology: The tech industry heavily uses patents to maintain cutting-edge technology, software, and procedures that give it a competitive advantage.

●     Industry and manufacturing: Patents can shield the original ideas, workings, and methods applied in the manufacture of consumer goods and industrial equipment.

In many sectors, recovering R&D expenditures and maintaining a competitive edge rely on the ability to bar others from utilizing the copyrighted idea for a predetermined amount of time.

When to Select Design Protection?

Design protection works well when a product’s look and visual appeal are important. This is especially the case in industries, where design plays a crucial role in product differentiation, such as:

●     Fashion: Fashion is unique patterns and designs found in accessories and clothing.

●     Consumer Goods: Consumer items are distinctively shaped and made of appliances, electronics, and other things.

Design protection protects the exclusive rights to use a design and stops others from exploiting or copying it without authorization. This is particularly crucial in sectors where drawing in clients and building brand awareness rely heavily on design.

Considerations of Time and Cost

Patents and designs have somewhat different costs and timeframes. Generally speaking, the price of filing a patent is higher; a utility patent application might cost anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000. In comparison, design registration is less expensive—typically about $2,000.

Application processes also vary widely. Examining and granting a patent can take years; the average utility patent takes two to three. Much faster—often finished in a year or two—are design registrations.

Patents are a more important long-term investment even though they provide up to 20 years of protection. Though the 10-year protection time is shorter, designs offer a faster and cheaper method to safeguard a product’s aesthetic features.

International Considerations

While growing abroad, the differences in patent and design rules between countries must be taken into account. International treaties and agreements, such as the Hague Agreement and the Paris Convention, provide reciprocal patent protection. However, because every nation has its own patent and design rules, the worth and cost of every application must be carefully considered. Target country filings should be given top priority, costs should be balanced with the invention’s worth, and international laws should be used to expedite the process.

In Summary

Finally, two different kinds of intellectual property protection are given by patents and designs. Under the Patent Act of 1970, patents protect new ideas and their methods; under the Designs Act of 2000, designs protect the outside look of things. Effective protection of intellectual property requires understanding the differences between patents and designs. This covers realizing the many kinds of safety, the registration processes, the prices, and the durations. Innovations can be protected, and their competitive edge in the market is guaranteed by choosing the proper kind of protection.

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Sachin Jaiswal

Sachin Jaiswal B.A.(Hons)! Sachin Jaiswal has been writing material on his own for more than five years. He got his B.A.(Hons) in English from the well-known University of Delhi. His success in this job is due to the fact that he loves writing and making material that is interesting. He has worked with a lot of different clients in many different fields, always giving them high-quality content that their target audience will enjoy. Through his education and work experience, he is able to produce high-quality content that meets his clients' needs.