Monday, March 4, 2013

Should I Patent My Clothing Idea?

Pat No. 4,151,613
A protective device for the buttocks and hips
 of a person for use in skateboarding
Dear Rich: There is sport-specific clothing, padded bike shorts, fishing vests, etc. I have an idea to use a specific aspect of one sport-specific clothing item and apply it to a different sport-specific clothing item. I think it would qualify for a design patent, since I would be merging two clothing aspects that have not been used together before. My question is whether it might qualify for a utility patent since the clothing item is "used" in the sport.  We understand your desire not to disclose your invention (and BTW -- after March 16, nondisclosures make even more sense). But because we don't know what your sports-related invention is, we can't really advise whether a utility or design patent is appropriate. The main guideline is that if your innovation does something (other than looking cool), you're in the world of utility patents. If your innovation primarily enhances the appearance, then you're in the world of design patents. That doesn't mean you'll qualify for the respective patents -- there's plenty of deets to deal with. But that's how you start your analysis.

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