By Erin Coe (October 20, 2015, 5:02 PM EDT) -- Design patents are gaining in popularity to protect the way products look, but this type of intellectual property can be underutilized by companies that fear it will be too difficult to prove infringement.
The design patent has long lived in the shadow of its trendier sibling, the utility patent, which protects processes and the way products operate. However, design patents are often quicker and cheaper to obtain than utility patents, typically costing thousands of dollars less to prosecute, taking a year or so to be granted versus three to five years, and accruing no maintenance fees once granted.
The number of...
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