Many designers wonder if they can get a patent for their furniture design. One of the biggest concerns that most designers have is whether or not they can protect their furniture design from being copied by others.
A designer can get a patent for their furniture design if they can prove that the furniture design or the ornamental aspects of the invention are new and worthy of a patent. A furniture design that proves it is something new and revolutionary should be able to get a patent.
The truth is that a patent is costly, and getting a patent is a long process, so many furniture designers usually do not bother to get a patent on their furniture designs. Also, proving that a furniture design is unique enough or novel enough for a patent is not always easy.
Table of Contents
- Designs Patents And Furniture Designs
- Should You Get A Patent?
- 3 Types Of United States Patents
- Related Content
Designs Patents And Furniture Designs
A design patent can be issued for any new original ornamental design, article, or product. But here’s where it can become tricky, especially for furniture designs.
Investopedia defines a patent as:
In simple terms, the government will issue the patents and give you exclusive rights to use your design for several years. In reality, it may sound simple, but it is all quite complicated and complex.
That can become tricky, especially in the United States. To receive a US design patent, you must show that the furniture piece is unique and not the same or even similar to another design claimed in another design patent. In other words, you need to show that it is a unique design worthy of having a patent.
So technically, you can get a patent for your furniture design. But in reality, the cost and the legal requirements may not be viable to receive a patent. For example, if you design a bed, you would have to show that it is unique and different from other beds or has an ornamental design worthy of a patent.
An example of a design patent would be that Coca-Cola has patented its Coca-Cola bottle. That means that other soda suppliers can have bottles for their soda, but it cannot be the same shape or design of a soda bottle or a similar bottle as Coca-Cola has.
Yet when you look at things like mobile phones today, you can see that both Apple and Samsung will have patents for their phones, yet their phones can often seem and even look very similar. That is why getting a design patent can be a lot more complicated than it seems.
Design patent applications are not published in China, Canada, Japan, South Africa, and the United States. It remained a secret until the actual application had been allowed.
That means that if your competitor put in for a similar design patent as you did, they might be given it before you, and you would no longer be able to produce your design as the design would have the protection.
Should You Get A Patent?
Something that most companies will ask themselves if they should get a patent. In practice, getting a patent to protect your furniture design sounds like a great thing to do. But the reality is that getting a patent is costly and, for most furniture designers, may not be worth the cost and trouble involved.
The reason is that furniture is usually a trend-driven product. In other words, what is popular today may not be so popular five years from now. So you could get a patent on a design that will not have much value in years.
Especially if the design is trendy, it may be popular today but not necessarily tomorrow. That is, of course, the risk of a designer getting a design patent in that patent can take a long time, and by the time you receive the patent, that design may be almost obsolete.
The patent is legal protection to incentivize companies to continue to create and innovate. It is about creating products and services without fearing somebody else infringing upon their product or service. It is a massive investment for most companies.
3 Types Of United States Patents
The US patent code has three types of patents: utility, design, and plant. Each of these patents has various uses.
The three types of US Patents are:
The utility patent is when a party invents a new and helpful process, article, the machine, or composition of matter. They are the most common type of patent, with more than 90% of all patterns issued by the US government belonging to utility patents.
The utility patent will last for about 20 years from the filing date if the maintenance fees remain paid. Even though this is the most common and cheaper patent, getting a utility patent can still be costly.
The utility patent is the most common patent that furniture designers would receive for their furniture designs. But still, to get the patent, you would need to prove that your design was new and worthy of a patent.
A design patent is when you have designed something original, new, or an ornamental feature for a manufactured product. A design patent will protect the design or the ornamental feature.
At the same time, a design patent must show that the design is original and valuable. That is where it can become a bit complex to get a design patent. For example, suppose you are designing a bed. In that case, you need to prove that your design or ornament is something original and valuable and there is nothing else like it on the market.
The Design patent will last for 15 years from the application date. But unlike the utility patent, design patents do not have maintenance fees; once you get the patent, you do not need to pay the maintenance fees as with the utility patent.
A plant patent would have nothing to do with a furniture design, as a plant patent involves someone who produces or discovers a new plant capable of reproduction. Like the utility plan patent, a plant patent is granted for 20 years and has no maintenance fees.
To see if your furniture design is worthy of a patent, you will need to check out carefully all the requirements of a patent. Usually, you will need to hire an expert attorney and patent law attorney to get a patent. That is why obtaining a patent for your furniture design can be a very long and costly.
On the other hand, if your patent is unique and revolutionary, most companies consider obtaining a patent as an asset. That is because a patent protects your design, and others copy your innovative design.
If you are interested in seeing how Mondoro can help you with your furniture design – we would love to talk to you to see how we can help you.
At Mondoro, we create, develop and manufacture home decor and home furnishing products.
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How Can I Protect My Furniture Designs From Being Copied?
You can protect your furniture designs by making sure those you show them have a contract to view them and not copy them; also, make sure the plans are all dated and documented to show they are your original designs.
You can learn more by reading our blog How Can I Protect My Furniture Designs From Being Copied by clicking here.
Designing Furniture, 6 Things To Consider
Designing Furniture is perhaps one of the most complicated things to prepare as it can require some particular skills and knowledge. We have been creating, developing, and manufacturing furniture for many years, so here are some of our top tips for designing furniture pieces.