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What is a Design Patent?

In the field of Intellectual property rights, including Utility patents, design patents also play a crucial role in protecting the unique and attractive design of the product. As the Utility patents protect the functions and features of the invention, the design patents help to preserve the ornamental or aesthetic qualities of that invention. So, this becomes more importance for an inventor to secure the design of his invention so that he can make a perfect product to launch in the market and gain a profit by selling it.

In this article, we will discuss what is a design patent and its various aspects including its components and how design patents are different from other types of Intellectual property rights.

Understanding Design Patent Law

As a utility patent, a design patent is also an important right given by the government to the inventor who has invented a new and original design. This exclusive right prevents others from making, using, selling, or importing a product with a substantially similar design without the consent of investors.  The Design Act, of 2000 deals with all the affairs related to design patents in India and for the US, it is governed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and are regulated under Title 35, U.S. Code, Section 171.

Who regulates Design patents in India?

The Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) is known as the Controller of Design Patent. This is an agency that comes under the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.  The process from filing a design patent to the registration of the design patent is taken care of by this office. According to the Design Act, of 2000, the central government appoints examiners and other officers related to the design patents who work on the orders of CGPDTM.

Definition of Design Patent

According to the Design Act of 2000, the design patent is a legal protection granted to the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of a functional article. In simple words, it protects the unique visual appearance or design of the product. It covers the shape, configuration, surface ornament, composition of lines or colours applied to the article whether in 2D or 3D or in both 2D and 3D. To apply for registration of Design application, you can use the official website by clicking the link:

The design does not include the design which is:

  • Not new or original.
  • Already disclosed in the public or being used in the public.
  • Not distinguishable or combination of known designs of the articles.
  • Containing scandalous or any illegal matter.

Elements of Design Patent

Now, let us discuss the elements of the design patents so that it could be clear what the basic requirements are in a design which makes it different from other similar designs.


This is one of the most important conditions that the design which is going to be registered as a Design patent must be new and original. This design must not be disclosed in the country or elsewhere in the world before the date of applying for a design patent.


The design which is going to be registered must not be a mere mechanical or functional improvement of the design that already exists in the present or past time. It must not come under the prior art search.


The design must have an ornamental aspect. It means that the design primarily should be related to the appearance of an article rather than the functional aspects of an article.


The design must not be obvious to the person who is skilled in the relevant field to which the design is related.

Clear Representation

The representation of the design which is going to be registered must be clear and accurate. The representation of the design must include the various views of the design by highlighting its different features.

Industrial Applicability

The design must be easy to make or use in the industry.

These are some of the important elements of the design patent which should be kept in mind while making the application for the registration of the design.

How Design Patents Differ from Utility Patents

Both design patents and utility patents are branches of the patents, but both serve different purposes and protect the different aspects of the inventions. We have detailed articles about utility patents. You can check the articles about What is a Patent.

Let us discuss how design patents are different from Utility patents by learning about their main differences.

Subject Matter

Design covers the ornamental design or main appearance of the invention whereas the utility patent covers the new and useful process or mechanism of the invention.

Scope of Protection

Under the design of the invention, you just cover the patent drawing or representations. On the other hand, the utility patent covers the functioning, there is no scope for the design or ornament of the invention.

Duration of Protection

For design, the duration of protection is 10 years which can be extended to 5 more years only for one time. On the other hand, utility patents are granted for 20 years from the date of filing and once this time is over, the patent goes to the public domain and the inventor cannot extend this time.

Requirements for Grant

The design needs novelty and non-obviousness in the ornament of the design whereas, the utility requires novelty, non-obviousness, and utility and it should be non-obvious to the person who is skilled in the art.

Application Process

The process of filing the applications for designs and utility patents is different. Also, one is covered by the Design Act and other is covered by the Patents Act.

 To know about the filing process of a Utility patent application, you can read our article How to file Patent application in India?

Importance of Design Patents for Businesses

Design patents can be highly beneficial for businesses. There are several reasons by which you will know the worth of filing the design patents for your design. Let us cover the reason why we should file the design patents:

Protection of Brand Identity

It covers the unique visual appearance of your product which helps your business to maintain its brand identity. It also prevents your competitors from making the same of similar products.

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Competitive Advantage

By securing your design, you can attract the audience with your different-looking products and gain a profit from it. A different look of the product can also help you to sell your product at high prices.

Enhanced Market Positioning

Unique design shows the creativity of a business which results in boost the reputation of the company. Also, the consumers often perceive patented designs as premium or luxurious.

Prevention from Piracy

It helps you to protect your invention. No one can make a duplicate product of your real and registered design, if someone tries to do so, you have the remedy to file a suit against that person.

Licensing and Monetization

If in any case, you are not ready to make the design available in public, then you can give the license to any other person who will make such product and in return, they will give you the royalty.

These are some useful points which show why we should make our design be registered under the Desing Act.

Duration of the registration of a design

The duration of the registration of a design in India is initially 10 years from the date of registration of the design patent. This period can also be extended one time for a further period of 5 years if the inventor makes the application by filing form 3 of the Desing Act with the prescribed fee. This Form must be given before the expiration of the initial period which is 10 years. The person can also file this extension even as soon as he gets the certificate of registration of the design patent.


After reading about the design patent, now you know that the design helps persons and businesses to protect the uniqueness of their products. It helps the businesses to grow more and maintain the uniqueness of their products.

However, obtaining a design patent for the product is the first step because it covers a bigger process from filing a design patent application to the registration certificate. After that, there are a lot of things like design infringement etc which are also the parts of the design patent.

In our next articles related to Design patents, we will cover all other important aspects related to the topic. Till then, stay connected to us. You can write your views in the comments.

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