US design patent D48,160 for the original Coca-Cola bottle. In the United States, a design patent is a what can you utility patent of legal protection granted to the ornamental design of a functional item.
Design patents are a type of industrial design right. A similar concept, a registered design can be obtained in other countries. For the member states of WIPO, cover is afforded by registration at WIPO and examination by the designated member states in accordance with the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement. A US design patent covers the ornamental design for an object having practical utility.
Did not find what they wanted? Try here
An object with a design that is substantially similar to the design claimed in a design patent cannot be made, used, copied or imported into the United States without the permission of the patent holder. The copy does not have to be exact for the patent to be infringed. It only has to be substantially similar. Design patents are subject to both the novelty and non-obviousness standards of the patent code. However, because design patents are not measured based on the utility of the designs to which they are directed, there is an open question as to how to measure the non-obviousness of an ornamental design.
Both novel fonts and computer icons can be covered by design patents. Icons are only covered, however, when they are displayed on a computer screen, thus making them part of an article of manufacture with practical utility. Screen layouts can also be protected with design patents. In China, Canada, Japan, South Africa, and the United States, a design patent application is not published and is kept secret until granted. In Brazil, the applicant can request that the application be kept in secrecy for a period of 180 days from the filing date. This will also delay the prosecution and granting of the application for 180 days. In Japan, an applicant can request that a design be kept secret for a period of up 3 years after the registration has been granted.