Design Patent System for the Twenty-First Century
AIPLA Quarterly Journal, Vol. 24, Nos. 2, 3 & 4, pp. 331-391, Spring/Summer/Fall 1996
62 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2010
Date Written: Spring/Summer/Fall 1996
As improved products are developed, much of the creativity involved in bringing them to the market, goes into their industrial design. Product appearance must be attractive to the consumer and functional features arranged in a useful way. There is tremendous economic value in a successful industrial design.
The U.S. design patent system has been an important part of the protection available for industrial designs. Even though there are other forms of intellectual property that can protect a product design, the design patent offers the most extensive rights. The U.S. design patent system is linked through treaties to similar protection systems in other countries.
This article will not enter into the debate on the relative merits or availability of other intellectual property forms, leaving these subjects to the expanding scholarly literature. It is the focus of this article to identify improvements in the design patent system structure that will make it a better form of protection for the twenty-first century.
Keywords: intellectual property, design patent system, industrial design, product appearance, functional features, patent protection, treaties, international law
JEL Classification: O34, K19, K29, K33, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation