can one provisional patent or design patent cover the same product but with different designs? example picture frame (a) the frame is a rope design, picture frame (b) the frame is checker boarded design and picture frame (c) the picture fame has a flower design, will one provisional patent or one design patent legally cover all picture frames, Thanks jacob

  • @EricShain If you have an answer, please post it below. Thanks. – Robert Cartaino Sep 25 '17 at 10:45
  • @RobertCartaino I'm not a lawyer so I can't answer with confidence. My comment wrt provisionals wasn't sufficiently to answer the question. – Eric S Sep 25 '17 at 14:36
  • @EricShain Then all the more reason not to post it in comments. Comments do not have the features necessary to vet, edit, correct, or add to anything you say here. That's the entire point of Stack Exchange and why we don’t guess or post half answers in comments. – Robert Cartaino Sep 25 '17 at 14:42
  • @RobertCartaino Fine, I attempted to answer the part of the question I feel confident about. Hopefully someone else can answer the main issue about multiple designs in a single design patent. – Eric S Sep 25 '17 at 15:01
  • I'm not an expert on design patents, but I'd have to wonder if the restriction to specific design elements (rope, checkerboard, flower) limits the claims to permutations of those elements. i.e. the same combination scheme could be used for a competing product so long as it specifically avoids rope/checkerboard/flower. But I'm just speculating here. – DukeZhou Sep 25 '17 at 18:22

I am not well versed on design patents, so I'd like to hold off on answering that part of you question. However, from what I can deduce, a provisional application is not likely an option. Provisionals are a precursor to a utility patent. Utility patents do not apply to designs of decorative elements.


There is no such thing as a "provisional patent", so it's not clear what you're asking about there.

There is a provisional application for patent, which is not a patent of any kind; meaning it does not provide an enforceable property claim. A provisional patent application (PPA) simply reserves the right to file a non-provisional application within a year, claiming filing priority of the PPA for the invention disclosed in the PPA. The PPA may (in theory) describe multiple designs and multiple inventions. However, a design patent cannot claim any benefit from a PPA -- only an application for a utility patent may do so.

In a design patent, one may generally only claim one "distinct invention", although "multiple embodiments" may be illustrated in the application, if they are "basically the same". If the designs are found not to be obvious variations of each other, or "do not constitute a single inventive concept", a restriction requirement may arise. MPEP § 1504.05

Some products may have both utility and design patents, not to mention trademarks and copyrights. One example is a high-tech shoe having a utility patent on a functional adjustment device, design patents on the unique tread and logo ornamentation, trademark protection of the logo as indicator of source, and copyright of the artwork on the labels and packaging.

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