What comes first: Design or Patent?

The order in which a patent and a design are pursued depends on the specific circumstances and goals of the inventor or company. Patents and designs serve different purposes and protect different aspects of intellectual property, so their timing can vary. Here are some considerations for both scenarios:

Design First, Patent Later

Aesthetic and Ornamental Aspects:

If the primary value of your creation lies in its aesthetic or ornamental design rather than its underlying functionality, you might start with a design registration or copyright to protect the appearance.

Marketing and Branding:

Design protection can help build brand identity and marketability. Companies often protect product designs to create a distinctive and recognizable look and feel for their products.

Quicker Protection:

Design registrations are often faster to obtain than patents, allowing you to protect the visual aspects of your creation sooner.

Simultaneous Patent and Design Protection:

Hybrid Approach: Depending on the nature of your invention, you may pursue both patent and design protection simultaneously. This is especially relevant if your product has both innovative functional elements and unique design features.

Comprehensive Protection: This approach provides comprehensive protection by covering both the functional and visual aspects of your invention. It can be particularly important if you believe competitors might attempt to replicate your product.

Patent First, Design Later

Invention Protection:

If you have created a new and innovative product or technology, you might consider applying for a patent first. Patents protect the functional aspects and underlying principles of an invention.

Prior Art:

To obtain a patent, your invention should be novel and non-obvious. Starting with a patent search and application early can help establish your invention’s uniqueness before you disclose it to the public.

Longer Protection:

Patents typically offer more extended protection (usually 20 years) than design rights, which may be important if you plan to invest heavily in developing and marketing your invention.


Ultimately, the choice between pursuing a patent or design protection first, or concurrently, should be based on the nature of your creation and your business strategy. It’s often wise to consult with an intellectual property attorney who can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation and goals. They can help you navigate the complex process of intellectual property protection and create a strategy that aligns with your business objectives. In most of the projects we have worked on, the Design came before the Patent and created more value and better claims for the Patent filing.

3D Innovations helps develop designs and drawings for your patent application.  See how to get started today.


Developing Ideas From Concept To Product®

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, & LinkedIn today.




April 2024

Most Viewed Posts

BabyToon Testimonial

error: Content is protected !!