“Do any of the products that you produce or plan to market have unique design elements that you consider to be important to your product differentiation?”
This is a question posed by a new online tool released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to “help manufacturers, small businesses, entrepreneurs and independent inventors easily assess their knowledge of intellectual property (IP).” The assessment guides you through a set of 62 questions to help you investigate your position with respect to trademarks, copyrights, design patents, trade secrets, utility patents, using technology of others, licensing technology to others, international IP rights and IP asset tracking. Upon completing the assessment, you will receive a customized set of IP strategies and best practices based on your responses.
If your answer to the question above was yes, you may benefit from obtaining a design patent. A design patent differs from its more well-known cousin the utility patent in that the design patent protects the look of a product while a utility patent protects how it is used or works. To continue reviewing your IP position, check out the full assessment for more great questions.
If this assessment raises issues that you would like to address, we at MCRA would welcome the opportunity to help. We provide high quality patent searches for medical devices and other medical technologies and are always happy to discuss your search requirements and give you a complimentary quote.