Q: Are provisional patents for design?
Competitor claims they have a provisional patent for all but color change of an (my) existing product. I thought provisional patents were for utility only. Could they be lying? How do I find out?
A provisional patent application is for a utility patent but one can file a design patent application as a continuation of a utility patent application so there is some small chance that they could end up with a design patent from an initial provisional patent application.
Generally a mere color change will be insufficient to obtain a design patent from an existing design. However your competitor may not tell the USPTO about your design (violation of the rules but it happens).
Unfortunately you really have no way of seeing a provisional patent application unless it is associated with a non-provisional patent application that gets published or with an issued patent. Design patent applications are not published either.
Even if your competitor obtained a patent for a design that is very close to your design, you would still be able to sell your existing design if your design was being sold in public sales before the competitor filed a patent application.
I hope this helps.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.