Design patents protect the unique ornamental designs of the functional aspects of your product. Ornamental designs may include perceivable designs such as a unique chair shape or clever shampoo bottle. You may not realize it, but design patents do more than just protect your product’s good looks. Did you know that design patents can work to protect your business’s growth too? See how below:
- Design patents help to retain repeat customers.
A customer may likely repurchase based on your product’s ornamental design. This is especially true with competitive products where there are less differentiating factors to help a customer decide which product is better – a clever water bottle design may stand out over a conventional water bottle for instance. So if your product currently has an ornamental design that helps it to stand out on the store shelves, encourage customers to continue to repurchase your product over the competition and file a design patent.
- Design patents protect your innovation.
If your design team invested their sweat and blood developing such an ingenious design, you should spend the time to protect it. Worst case scenario, if your product design went unprotected and another startup copied it, your whole team will be discouraged to innovate further because they will assume there is no point – someone else will just rip it off. So be smart to protect any and every innovation to encourage and stimulate innovation within your team. The more innovative your startup is, the more you can remain ahead of the competition.
- Design patents protect your source of referrals.
A striking ornamental design can stand out in a person’s mind. This vivid memory will keep your product at the customer’s top of mind when asked by a friend for a product recommendation. Because, if they can’t remember anything else, they may just remember the “cool-looking one.”
Smart entrepreneurs use this form of “product branding” by creating unique product and packaging shapes. To create unique product designs, small businesses usually should keep a budget of between $5,000 and $15,000. Often, industrial designers (or engineers) have the skills that you may need to design attractive product shapes. If you are on a budget, try to contact the industrial engineering or product design department of your local university.
Like protecting an attractive logo for your business as a trademark for $199 plus government fees, investment in product design can pay off in spades. Famous companies that do industrial design include IDEO, Frog Design, and our local favorite here in the San Francisco Bay Area, Good Honest Brands. Check them out, or find a good designer in your area by doing a Google search.
This article presents the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LegalForce RAPC or its clients. The information presented is general information and for educational purposes. No legal advice is intended to be conveyed; readers should consult with legal counsel with respect to any legal advice they require related to the subject matter of the article.