By now, companies should be savvy enough to know that design patents are an extremely useful part of, or addition to, a comprehensive patent policy. In the United States, the two most common types of patents are utility patents and design patents. In general, utility and design patents require that the invention or design be novel or new, and non-obvious. Utility patents require the invention to have utility, while design patents require the design to be ornamental.
There are a number of significant reasons (presented further below) why design patents have become so attractive over the last decade. And the reasons were all illustrated in the case the Wall Street Journal touted as “The Patent Trial of the Century.”