What is the difference between Utility and Design patents in India?

The essential difference between utility and design patents is the difference in protecting “How it looks” (design) vs. “How it works” (utility).  If you’re concerned about competitors copying the appearance of your concept, then apply for design patents.  If you want to protect the functional features of your concept, then apply for utility patents. In some cases, it may be appropriate to file design and utility patent applications.

Since a design patent covers merely the ornamental appearance of an invention, it’s not difficult to imagine the ways in which a competitor may easily design around a patented design by creating a product that simply looks different. Utility patents are tougher to design around. Since utility patents claim the function or structure of an invention, the outer appearance of a product is less relevant to issue of infringement. A competitor may introduce a product with a very different appearance from that of a patented product and still infringe a utility patent.

t takes much more time to get a utility patent than a design patent. Since utility applications have a higher rate of rejection, they also endure a longer application process (average: approximately 3 years) than that of a design application (average: approximately 1.5 years).


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