Q & A from one of Colorado’s most experienced Patent Attorneys, Denver‘s Mark Trenner.
Patent Attorney: Yes, and four of the patents were related to design elements of the MagSafe connector used for the MacBook Pro. The other patents were for other design components.
Interviewer: So are design patents more important than utility patents?
Patent Attorney: It is important to understand, that design patents only protect the ornamental appearance exactly as pictured and nothing more (perhaps trivial variations). This means that design patents are typically considered to offer less protection than a utility patent.
Interviewer: Which type of patent application – design or utility – should inventors consider then?
Patent Attorney: Some inventions may be the subject of both a utility patent application (for the function) and a design patent application (for the ornamental appearance). A patent attorney can help business owners make the appropriate decision, and even seek both design patents and utility patents, where possible, to create overlapping protection, and fully protect all aspects of the invention.
For Part 3, see China Patents Q & A – Part 3 of 4