can you patent a purse design?
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Can You Patent a Purse Design?

If you have designed a new pursue, you may be wondering whether you can patent your new purse design? The USPTO offers inventors of new designs the ability to protect their design by applying for a design patent. Design patents allow inventors to restrict others from using, making, selling, or offering to sell the item bearing the patented design for a limited period of time. In the case of design patents, this limited period of time lasts for 15 years from the date the patent office grants the applicant’s design patent. So, can you patent a purse design? We will answer this question below.

Can You Patent a Purse Design?

The answer is: yes, you can patent a purse design by filing a design patent application at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, you should know the differences between a utility patent and a design patent to determine what type of protection you need for your purse design. If you’re only seeking to protect the design of your purse, you can do so by filing a design patent application with the patent office. However, if the purse design you want to patent offers some sort of utility or function, then a utility patent is appropriate.

Patenting your purse design with either a design patent or utility patent allows you to curb the competition by giving you the ability to restrict others from using, making, selling, offering to sell, and import the purse you’ve patented for a limited period of time. Design patents offer 15 years of protection from the date the patent office grants your design patent application. Utility patents offer 20 years of protection that starts from the moment you file your utility patent application at the post office.

By patenting your purse design, you will be the only party that’s able to use, make, and sell the purse that you’ve patented. Also, some of the benefits of patenting your purse are that you can license the patent to other people to use and make the patented item or you can sell the patent entirely. Therefore, patenting your design or invention gives you some power over what you do with it.

Getting a Design Patent For Your New Purse Design

If the design of the purse you’re seeking to patent is new and unique, you will be able to protect it with a design patent so long as you satisfy the following requirements:

  • The purse must be new and unique,

  • The design of the purse must not affect its function,

  • The design must be inseparable from the purse, and

  • No one must have patented a pursue with a similar design

If you believe that your purse design satisfies these elements, you can go ahead and begin preparing your design patent application. Many design patent applicants opt to hire an attorney to help them prepare and file their design patent application. Design patent law is somewhat complicated, so having an attorney who understands patent law is important and vital to your patent’s success.

That said, it’s not unheard of for a person to prepare and file their own design patent application, just know that it’s difficult to do if you’ve never prepared an application yourself.

What Aspects of Your Purse Design Can You Protect

A design patent can protect the following aspects of your purse design:

  • The shape of your purse

  • Any ornaments you’ve applied to your purse

  • Designs applied to your purse

Note: You must file your design patent application within one year of publicly disclosing your purse design, selling it, or offering it for sale. The United States Patent Office offers this grace period, which is quite different from other countries, many of which don’t allow inventors to patent designs that they’ve publicly disclosed. So, don’t procrastinate and file that application. If you intend to protect your design in other countries, it’s a good idea to not disclose your design at all.

Protecting One Purse Design Per Design Patent

Applicants for a design patent can only protect one design per design patent application, so if you’ve designed a new purse, you can only protect one design. If you have other purse designs that you want to protect, you must apply to protect each design separately.

Having said that, the patent office does allow applicants to submit different embodiments (variations) of the same design. However, you should know that submitting different variations of the same design increases the likelihood of the patent office rejecting your application. So, it’s a good idea to settle on one design without having different variations and then applying to patent the design variation that you like the most.

Why does having multiple embodiments increase the change of the patent office rejecting your application? The chances of getting your application rejected increases because the patent examiner assigned to examine your design patent may find that you’re trying to patent multiple distinct designs. As we previously said, applicants are only allowed to patent one design per application. Therefore, it’s a good idea to submit one design without additional embodiments.

If the patent office rejects your application for finding more than one distinct design, you will have to spend more time and money to rectify the situation. Also, the patent examiner will force you to choose one design and the rest of the design may fall into the public domain. So, be careful if you’re including multiple embodiments. We recommend only including one purse design without embodiments, this strategy could save you time and money.

Protecting the Functional Aspects of the Purse You Have Invented

If the purse you’ve invented has any new functional features, you can seek to protect those features by applying for a utility patent. Utility patents protect how an invention works. So, if your new invention (purse) has, for example, a new type of zipper or mechanism that organizes items, you might be able to protect those function features with a utility patent.

Utility patents, like design patents, will allow you to restrict others from using, making, selling, or offer to sell a pursue that has a similar function to the one that you’ve patented.

Also, having dual protection (utility patent and design patent) makes your invention (purse) look better to the public and potential purchasers because of the fact that it qualified for both a design and utility patent.

Benefits of Patenting A Purse

There are some benefits associated with patenting a new purse, here are some of them:

  • You get to stop others from copying or stealing the design of your purse

  • 15 years of design patent protection

  • 20 years of utility patent protection

  • Ability to license the design of your purse or its functional aspects

  • Being the sole person to use and make the patented purse

Drawbacks of Patenting a Purse

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of patenting your invention, here are some of the drawbacks:

  • The patent process is complex

  • The patent process is expensive

  • Fashion trends tend to move quickly, quicker than the patent process

When Does Patenting a Purse Make Sense?

Patenting a purse that you’ve designed or invented makes sense if the fashion trend for the purse lasts for a long period of time. If it lasts for a long time, you can justify the cost of going through the patenting process. For example, Louis Vuitton benefits when it patents the design of the purse because it makes big profits from the various purse designs it sells.

Now, we’re not saying that you have to be Louis Vuitton to patent a purse design. If you have a purse design or a functional aspect of a purse that you want to protect, you should conduct a study to determine whether the purse will be commercially successful. If you determine that it will be successful then patenting is the way to go because you want to protect your valuable intellectual property.

The Process to Patent a Purse

To patent the design or function of a purse, you will have to make sure that no one has patented the design or functional aspects that you’re seeking to protect. After conducting a patent search and making sure that no has a patent on what you’re trying to protect, you can go ahead and prepare the patent application. Many inventors choose to have a lawyer prepare and file their patent application to avoid costly mistakes.

After you or your attorney prepare the patent application, it’s time to file it with the patent office and pay the required fees (ouch!). After filing your application with the USPTO, you can track the status of your application(s) using the USPTO website.

Make sure that any inquiries or requests for information or amendments are replied to within the allotted time-frame. Now, it’s just a waiting game to see if the patent examiner approves or rejects your patent application. Hopefully, you heard good news, and your patent is granted.

If the patent office grants your application, you can enforce your rights under the patent immediately. Just remember, you can take legal action against anyone until the patent office approves or grants your patent application.

Patenting a Purse Design

We covered most of the things you have to consider when patenting the design of your purse, as well as the functional aspects of your purse. Just remember to study the market to ensure there is a market for your process. The patenting process is complex, long, and expensive. Only patent a purse if you’re confident that it will be commercially successful and profitable. That said, if you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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