Should I get a design or utility patent? How? 4 Answers as of September 08, 2015

My invention consists of a design that has an interchangeable part. The main component by itself is a holder to hold decorative items but I have a part that can be interchanged to hold different sizes. My dilemma is that I want to be protected for my main component by itself as well as with the interchangeable piece and I am not sure which patent would suit me best.

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Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
It would be best to check with a patent attorney or agent since it's hard to determine whether your idea can be patented based on the minimal information you provided.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 9/8/2015
Gerald R. Black, Esq.
Gerald R. Black, Esq. | Gerald R. Black
A utility patent provides stronger protection than a design patent. The design patent only protects the embodiment shown whereas a utility patent can protect many embodiments. However, there are many instances that a design patent will provide you with all of the protection that you need. Also, if the technology has value to you and/or your competitors, you may be well-advised to apply for both. In such instances, we advise our clients to protect the technology every way that they can. You would be well advised to seek the assistance of counsel. Many provide a free initial consultation. Good luck with your project!!
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/8/2015
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
A Utility patent can cover all of the pieces and interchangeable parts. A design patent generally covers just one design, but it can be for a collection of parts. Design patents issue fairly easily, but a Utility application must have some novelty that is not found in other products or patents that have been previously disclosed or published. You may want to consult with a patent attorney or patent agent to determine your best option.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/8/2015
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
Contact a patent attorney. You will likely be advised to obtain a utility patent on the holder, which can include any decorative item. Such an invention must be (1) new, (2) useful, and (3) not obvious to those having ordinary skill in the field of the invention. A design patent would ONLY protect the holder and the one decorative item contained in the holder. Each combination of the holder & item might qualify for a separate design patent - so your costs would multiply per item. Visit the Patent Office website - - for more information regarding the differences between utility and design patents. GOOD LUCK!
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 9/8/2015
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