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My design patent was filed on Jul. 19, 2013, in the United States. I received some bad advice and did not file for an EU patent (huge market potential for my product there.) So I was wondering, if someone in England were to submit my patented widget to the European Patent Office, would the prior art in my US Patent of my widget prevent them from receiving an EU version of my US widget patent?

  • Welcome to Ask Patents! We are part of Stack Exchange; many sites, each focused on a specific topic. Our topics include questions about the U.S. patent system (can be stretched to how U.S. system interacts with other's.) Your question is on-topic. SE has some conventions' one is that questions need to be questions and answers need to directly address the question. At SE sites we do not use signatures, "thanks", "me too" in questions or answers. I think the idea is that it clutters up the Q and A. So it would be great if you could edit your question to remove the "thank you!!! George" – George White Oct 14 '14 at 18:09
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Design patents just cover the ornamental aspects of a product, not the functional aspects. Many locations including the EU do not have an exact equivalent of a U.S. design patent. Instead they have systems for the protection of "industrial designs" that are often completely separate from their patent system .

In Europe this is handled by the OHIM (an agency of the EU) rather than the EPO (not an agency of the EU). The search is not as extensive as a search done by a patent office but if they find your granted, published, design patent it may keep the other person's design from being registered. However, it is granting and publishing of your U.S. patent that will provide "prior art", not just the fact that it was filed. No one can see it until it is issued.

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