A utility patent, the most common filed patent application, protects the creation of a new or improved product, process or machine. While utility patents are more expensive than design patents, they will typically protect your invention better by providing broader patent protection. Generally, utility patents expire after 20 years from the application filing date, subject to the payment of appropriate maintenance fees.
On the other hand, a design patent protects the unique shape, look, and form of a product. The design patent does not focus on usefulness and instead focuses on the ornamental design of the invention. Design patents are granted for the term of 15 years from the date of issuance and are not subject to the payment of maintenance fees.
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