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Utility Patents and Design Patents

When most people discuss about a patent, a utility patent is the one which comes into their mind. There is a minor lack of awareness on design patents and its benefits. A utility patent is devised for a useful functional implementation of a product. In contrast, a design patent gives a 14-year legal authorization to a unique ornamental, aesthetic, or physical shape or design of an object that occurs non- naturally. A design patent has no correlation to the functional implementation of the object. In some cases, one can get a design patent for an element of a computer program or a business method. A computer keyboard shape or its aesthetics is a good example in this respect. However, design patents are not very commonly used to protect software and business methods.

A few tips for drafting a Utility Patent Application
The fundamental procedure for writing a utility patent application for a software product or business method is the same as that for mechanical systems. A comprehensive research on such fundamentals is essential for drafting a utility patent of high quality standards. For example, a book named “Patent it yourself” and presentations related to the same provide the necessary foundation while building knowledge on utility patent drafting. Some additional characteristics of business and software method patents are:

The volume of the illustrations for a business or software method patent is generally process flow diagrams. These have words in boxes, where most general patent illustrations exclude words in boxes, but in certain mechanical applications, a process flow diagram is depicted to show the method flow.
If method claims are drafted, these claims will generally list all of the steps required to execute the novel idea embodied in the computer program or business method.
It is also possible to write device claims in which the whole system is claimed. The whole system includes the business method or software program.
   
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