by Dennis Crouch
The USPTO is formally establishing a separate design patent practitioner bar with its final rule published on November 16, 2023 and efficient January 2, 2024. That is an historic change that opens the door to changing into a patent practitioner to a a lot wider viewers and can probably lend itself to additional progress on this specialty space. After proposing the thought in Might 2023 and receiving optimistic suggestions, the USPTO applied the design patent practitioner bar via its rulemaking authority underneath 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2).
At the moment, a single patent bar governs registration for anybody searching for to observe earlier than the USPTO in utility, plant, and design patent issues. Candidates should meet the pretty excessive scientific and technical necessities earlier than being permitted to affix the bar. After all, decorative design is usually a unique creature from utility patents. Good design is now very a lot ensconced throughout the formal training — however outdoors of conventional engineering and science applications. So, though these designers are sometimes design patent inventors, they’ve been prohibited from changing into patent practitioners. The brand new guidelines introduces a further path targeted on visible arts credentials. To qualify, candidates want a bachelor’s, grasp’s, or doctoral diploma in one of many following fields or an equal:
- Industrial design
- Product design
- Utilized arts
- Graphic design
- Nice/studio arts
- Artwork instructor training
These align with levels the USPTO at the moment accepts for design patent examiner roles. Equal design discipline levels may also be accepted on a case-by-case foundation.
The setup right here is that the design patent practitioner bar shall be separate and distinct from the patent bar.
- Common Patent Bar: Can proceed to organize and prosecute utility, design, and plant patents.
- Design Patent Bar: Can solely put together and prosecute design patents.
Design patent bar candidates will take take and move the present registration examination. This crucial step demonstrates data of patent legal guidelines, guidelines, and procedures. All candidates additionally endure an ethical character analysis.
I like what the USPTO has performed right here. I like good design, and I consider that design patent attorneys and brokers will be useful in that course of in a means that circles again to extend innovation within the discipline.