What is the difference between a utility patent and a design patent?


A utility patent may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, compositions of matter, or any new useful improvement thereof. A design patent may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Upon request, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will send information on utility and design patent applications including forms for filing applications. To request this information, you may contact the USPTO Contact Center (UCC) and request to be transferred to the Inventors Assistance Center (IAC). IAC representatives are available Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.


USPTO FAQ - Questions and Answers (15JUN2006)