What is the Difference Between Utility Patent and Design Patent?

  • September 30, 2022
  • Dushyant Sharma
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There are three types of patents. However, out of the three, there are two that are sought after the most: the utility patent and the design patent. However, inventors tend to get confused regarding the two and the can actually become an issue for them when it comes to registering the patent. Therefore, if you are an inventor, knowing the difference between utility patent and design patent is important for you.

Before we begin with explaining the difference between the two, we are going to start with establishing the definition of the two and once you understand the basis of both them, we can move over to the difference.

What is Utility Patent?

A utility patent refers to a “trademark” protection. This sort of protection is focused towards protecting the rights of the inventor towards their invention. This sort of patent registration is the most common one in India. The statistics to back this statement is that that about 90% of patents issues every year are meant for utility patent.

The utility patent is provided for the following types of inventions:

  1. Machine
  2. A new process
  3. A new manufacturing system.

A utility patent is given to inventions that actually have a physical existence. Having a physical existence gives the invention “utility” and it is where the name utility patent emerges. Let a get a bit deeper into this. There are many machines out there that can actually be specified as a new process. In such cases, what sort of patent shall be provided out of the mentioned three utility patents? The answer is: only one of them. This is about as deep as we are going to go into utility patents.

The example of a utility patent can be an electric toaster

What is Design Patent?

Now, for the design patent, there are no machines involved. But rather the design patents are given for the design of the products that already exist. However, this creates a paradox

 As patents are given for something unique, how come a design can be patented for the product that already exists?

That is the beauty of the design; there are several products out there whose actual working is not known. Therefore, design patents can actually be granted for such designs. Furthermore, design patents are easy to get a hold to when you compare them to utility patent.  

For design patent, the example can be the shape of the apple IPhone.

Now, that we have begun with the explanation regarding the difference between the two types of patents. Let us end the blog with explaining the difference even further.

The difference between Utility Patent and Design Patent

  1. A utility patent is meant for inventions that actually have a utility. By that we mean that if the machine actually has an existence, it can be patented. However, when it comes to design patent, they are meant for the designs of the products that already exist.

  2. As the design patents are the design of products that might already exist, you can guess that they are quite easier to get. However, a lot more scrutiny is involved with utility patent and they are not so easy to get.

  3. It is harder for design patent to get a licensing agreement. However, as for the utility patent, getting the licensing agreement is a lot easier.

  4. When it comes to charges, utility patents are a lot more expensive to get your hands on as compared to the design patent.

  5. Design patent only focus on the appearance of the product. However, utility patent focus on the inner working of the machine.

Now with thee many difference, one question might enter your mind:

Which one is better?

Well, if you go by the utility and the long term goals of the patent, we can say that utility patent is better. However, if you have access to a design where the appearance of the product plays a bigger role, then you should go with design patent.

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Dushyant Sharma
Author: Dushyant Sharma

Hey there, I'm Dushyant Sharma. With the extensive knowledge I've gained in past 8 years, I have been creating content on various subjects such as banking, insurance, telecom, and all the important registration and licensing processes for various companies. I'm here to help everyone with my expertise in these areas through my articles.

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