Let's say I have an idea about tape. This tape has always had the capability to be sold in color, but never into different shapes. It has always been sold in a straight line. I want to make them in many different shapes and sizes, but that could be as many as 50 different designs. Does this mean I would have to get individual design patents on each and every one I created or could I get some sort of protection that could cover all of them being sold together? I'm very confused as to what option to shoot towards.

  • Could you rephrase the question to be more clear what you want to protect? I do not understand what kind of tape you are referring to, but that does not seem important to the question. Is it about a set of related designs, or about a product available with multiple independent designs, more than currently available from others? Mar 28, 2014 at 4:34
  • Yes, i'm trying to find out if I can protect my designs based on the fact that if i'm the only company selling the product in a format which is shaping the type of product, if I can exclude others from copying the way I sell my idea once it is out in the market so nobody copies me and I prevent competition.
    – Matt
    Mar 29, 2014 at 8:02
  • Without having a clear idea of what kind of product, and what kind of design/format/shape we're talking about, I think it depends mostly on how unique/special/unusual it is. Mar 29, 2014 at 8:47

3 Answers 3


It is a little unclear just what your tape does. However, if it has some pattern then that could be copyrighted. You may also be able to trademark the design. You could go down those paths even if you are planning to go forward with patent. Note copyrights and trademarks are cheap and the instructions are easy for anyone to follow. Don't pay someone more than $100 to copyright your stuff unless that fee is also including some patent research/consultation.


Without having a clear idea of what kind of product, and what kind of design/format/shape we're talking about, I think it depends on two things:

Whether there is a way of protection that is applicable for your case; That may be patents, but also something like protection of a brand, or a design (as in a logo).
A tape could be a single sided sticky tape with a specific kind of chemical or physical glue, but also a digital recording tape for a kind of data backup recorder.

Then, you need to find out whether the change you make from the common existing product is relevant enough for the kind of protection to apply.

After clarifying this, there is a lot more to do of course; Like deciding in which countries you want to protect it, and doing the above again for each country (or possibly larger area, eg. EU).


The shape can be the subject of a design patent. Unless there was a significant similarity in the designs it might be 50 design patent applications. Size is not relevant except of course the width in relation to any edge design is part of the design.

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