Filing Requirements for Design Patents

Filing Requirements for Design Patents

There are several components to a design patent application, though the bulk of the preparation time will typically center on the drawings section. The main elements are:

  • Drawings
  • Preamble, stating applicant's name, title of the design, brief description of the drawings and intended use of the article on which the design is embodied
  • Cross-references to any related patent application(s)
  • Statement regarding any federally-sponsored research and development, or funding
  • Full description of drawings
  • Figure description
  • A single claim
  • Executed oath or declaration

Drafting claims is typically the most laborious and important element of a non-provisional patent application. However, only one claim is required for a design patent application. Again, the USPTO considers the best "description" of the invention to be the drawings themselves, so the claim drafting takes a backseat in design patent applications.

Figure Descriptions

Each view of the design must be described (such as front elevation or perspective view, etc). Other descriptions of the drawings are not required but are allowed. The following are some types of additional descriptions:

  • A descriptive statement about portions of the design which are not illustrated, such as a right side view being a mirror image of the left
  • A disclaimer of non-depicted portions of the article which aren't being claimed as part of the design
  • Any statements necessary to explain the nature and environmental use of the design if not readily apparent in the preamble

Drawings of the Invention

As mentioned above, the drawings are the most important element of the design patent application. A black and white photograph may be submitted instead. Either way, the drawings or photographs must include a sufficient number of views to showcase the design's full appearance (e.g., front, rear, top, bottom, right and left sides). Color drawings or photographs may only be submitted if the applicant petitions for it as necessary, the petition is granted by the USPTO and an additional fee is paid.

Appropriate features within drawings may include surface shading (to show the contour of three-dimensional surfaces) and dashed or broken lines (that aren't part of the claimed design but are shown merely to help illustrate structure or context).

LegalZoom can even help you obtain top-quality technical illustrations, to ensure that your design is shown to its best advantage.


Only a single claim is appropriate in a design patent application, to state that it is a design of the particular article in question. Specifically, such a claim would read, "The ornamental design for [the article that the design embodies or applies to] as shown."

Information Disclosure Statement

During the application process, you may choose to file an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS). This document notifies the Office of any related "prior art" you know of to aid the examiner in the review of your application. Prior art generally includes patents, publications or information within the public domain which relates to your design. The USPTO will still conduct a search, but filing an IDS can help speed the review period. Thus, if you are aware of any prior art, you should submit an IDS within three months of your design patent application filing date. If you want expedited review of your application, an IDS is required, along with other items and an additional fee. LegalZoom can help with expedited processing.

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