The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has achieved a historic milestone by issuing the one millionth design patent.
On September 26 2023, the USPTO granted design patent number 1,000,000 to Agustina Huckaby of Fort Worth, Texas, for the ornamental design of a dispensing comb.
Design patents protect an object’s visual design and appearance rather than how it functions. They promote innovation by safeguarding creators’ rights over the aesthetics and look of their products. Over the past 181 years, design patents have fueled growth in many industries by encouraging new designs and protecting iconic brands. Design patents have played a crucial role in shaping our modern commercial landscape, from George Bruce’s pioneering typeface patent of 1842 to iconic product designs like the Coca-Cola bottle and Eames chairs.
Reaching the one-millionth milestone is a testament to the growing innovation culture. The USPTO has seen a 20% rise in design patent applications over the past five years, with over 50,000 filed in 2022 alone. This demonstrates that businesses increasingly recognize design as a competitive advantage and seek stronger intellectual property protections.
For the recipient of the one-millionth patent, Agustina Huckaby, the design protection will boost her cosmetics business by securing her product designs. She hopes it will leave a legacy for her children and allow continued growth.
To better accommodate this surge in innovation, the USPTO recently restructured to establish a new Deputy Commissioner focused solely on design. This prioritisation of the design field will ensure protection keeps pace with creativity. As an economic driver, design patents are as crucial as utility patents in fueling R&D spending, start-up formation, and new markets. Their future looks bright as a catalyst for even greater national competitiveness.
Innovation, research, and securing intellectual property are essential to long-term business success. To help clients achieve their goals, Evalueserve IPRD offers the following services:
- Patent searches to evaluate potential patentability and competitive landscape
- Technology Landscape study to assess the merging technology landscape
- Filing and guiding applications through the USPTO approval process
- Design patent search and analysis to protect brands and products
- Licensing studies to maximize IP value
- Litigation support to defend against infringement
Contact us to discuss a strategic audit of your IP portfolio, the development of an innovation roadmap, or other guidance on leveraging creativity for sustainable growth. Our multi-disciplinary team is here to help navigate requirements and take full advantage of the IP system for clients.