A patent is an intellectual property document that grants an owner the exclusive rights to their new and unobvious invention in exchange for disclosing how to make and use their invention. Their reward for disclosing this information is that for a set amount of time the owner is granted the exclusive rights to their invention. These rights enable the patent owner to prevent others from making, using, distributing, or selling their patented invention without permission before doing so.
One of the main types of patents is a Design Patent. This type of patent is granted to anyone inventing a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture, and permits the owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the patented design for a period of fourteen years from the date of the granted patent (1). The difference between a utility patent (1) and a Design Patent is that the utility patent protects the function of the invention while the design patent is usually directed towards the external appearance of the invention.
Design Patents are used by those who realize an aesthetic difference between their product and those already in the market, or by those who wish to have coverage of the design of their invention in addition to its utility. Examples of notable designs that have been patented include that of the original Coca-Cola bottle design (2), the design patent on the Statue Of Liberty (3), and the first design patent (4)(5).
A Design Patent protects your new invention, no matter how large or small; and you are eligible for a patent on your idea as long as your design is aesthetically different and unobvious from those that are known already.