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A design patent covers the ornamental design (shape and surface materials) of an invention, but not the concept of the invention. To cover the concept, you must obtain a utility patent. A design patent is enforceable for up to 14 years after it issues and no maintenance fees are required over the life of the patent. The filing and issue fees for a design patent application are less than those of a utility patent. When the design patent application has been filed, you may refer to your product as "patent pending" and when the patent issues you are encouraged to print the word "patented" on the packaging for the product or on the product itself. Organizations and people who are most likely to seek design patent protection are those who are manufacturing the invention or product and who do not intend to change the design of the product in the foreseeable future. Remember, a design patent does not protect your concept, but merely the shape, ornamentation and materials of the specific product you manufacture.

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