If you own a wedding dress that is no longer being worn, it is wise to protect the investment by considering different methods such as patents. There are various ways of accomplishing this goal.

A patent is a legal right granted to an inventor by a sovereign authority that allows them to exclude others from making, using or selling their invention. This safeguards both the investment of the inventor and society at large.

Image credit: Unsplash

What is a patent?

A patent can be a lucrative opportunity for inventors with the right attitude. It functions like an insurance policy, similar to your family silverware patent. And best of all? It’s free! There are three primary types of patents: inventions, designs and combinations thereof – the most important being one that best represents your creative endeavors. Getting approved from USPTO may take years so it’s wise to file as early in the process as possible.

What is a utility patent?

A utility patent is one of three types of patents the United States can grant inventors. It grants exclusive rights to the creator of a machine, manufacture, composition of matter or process.

To obtain a utility patent, an inventor must file an application with the USPTO and pay its filing fee. The application will include an abstract, drawings, and detailed specification of the invention. Furthermore, there may be numerous claims that identify various aspects of it that meet patent eligibility criteria.

Patent protection requires both novelty and utility for an invention to be valid. While this requirement seems straightforward enough, finding the ideal balance between novelty and functionality can be challenging.

A utility patent can be obtained for a wedding gown if it contains a novel and useful feature or aspect that is not apparent to someone who is skilled in fashion design.

The criteria for utility patentability include novelty, non-obviousness and usefulness. The wedding dress must be unique and not similar to any other design. It also must not be obvious modifications of an existing design. The dress must also have a practical or functional purpose that offers a benefit.

A utility patent might allow you to patent certain features in a wedding gown, such as a unique fabric or material, a novel construction technique, special embellishments or decorations, or any design element that has some practical or useful benefit.

Noting that it can be complicated and costly to obtain a utility patent for wedding dresses, may be difficult for some designers or manufacturers. A utility patent does NOT protect the dress’s aesthetic appearance, but only the functional aspects covered by the patent.

A utility patent is awarded to inventors for any non-obvious and useful machine, manufacture, composition of matter or process. It’s an invaluable asset that can make the difference between success and failure for many startup ventures.

Utility patents are the most common type of patent in America and can be an essential element for business success. Unfortunately, navigating this complex process may prove daunting if you lack knowledge about patent laws and intellectual property law.

What is a design patent?

If the wedding dress is unique in its ornamental design and is not functional, it is possible to get a design patent. Patents for design protect an object’s ornamental appearance, not its functional aspects. A wedding dress that is unique and distinct from any other designs must be eligible for a patent. This means the dress must be purely ornamental, and not have any functional purpose.

A wedding dress’ design features could be eligible for a patent. These include the shape, placement of lace, beading or overall pattern or design. Noting that it can be complicated to obtain a design patent for wedding dresses, this may not make it practical or necessary for all designers or manufacturers. A design patent does NOT protect the function of the dress. It only covers the ornamental aspects.Top of FormBottom of Form

The initial step to obtaining design patent protection is filing an application with the USPTO. This may take anywhere from several months or years, depending on how complex your request. Once an application is filed, it will be assigned a filing date and an examiner will conduct a search to confirm that the invention meets eligibility requirements. Once this search is complete, they will make a determination whether or not to grant patent rights.

Additionally, you must create and submit drawings that clearly and precisely demonstrate the features sought by the patent. These sketches must be at least seven pages in length, including a three-dimensional image of the object being patented.

In addition to the drawing, you must include an abstract or preamble that explains what the design is and how it functions. This portion of your application must be comprehensive with research to back up your claims.

It is essential that the abstract or preamble be written with clarity and accuracy to avoid rejection due to inadequacy. Hiring a professional draftsperson for this task, especially when the application will be reviewed by an attorney, is highly recommended.

Another advantage to hiring a professional draftsperson is that creating drawings can be quite intricate. For instance, you may need colored renderings or photographs included in your designs – these additional costs may not have been considered when beginning to create them.

No matter the scope of your project, it is strongly advised that you hire a professional draftsperson who specializes in creating design patent drawings. A poorly drawn drawing could result in an invalid disclosure that cannot be protected by patent law.


Wedding dress design kit by Janie A. Paine – US5680652A     

“A wedding dress design kit which enables a wide variety of wedding dress designs to be created from a relatively small number of dress components. The present invention provides a kit which can be used by bridal shops to create customized wedding dresses without the need of maintaining an expensive inventory of single-sized wedding dresses. The present invention provides a kit comprised of a number of differently shaped bodices, a number of differently shaped sleeves, a number of differently shaped skirts, and a number of differently shaped trains.”

Image credit: Google Patents

What is a trademark?

Trademarks are distinctive words, names, symbols or designs that help distinguish one product from another. Trademarks are essential for business success as they offer legal protection and prevent copying or consumer confusion in the marketplace.

In general, four categories of marks that can be legally protected by law: arbitrary or fanciful; suggestive; merely descriptive; and generic. Arbitrary marks refer to preexisting terms used for a particular good or service; fanciful marks are made-up words created out of thin air; and suggestive marks require the buyer to engage in mental association.

Generally, arbitrary and fanciful marks are more difficult to register than suggestive or merely descriptive ones. To make your brand and its dress distinctive enough for registration, ensure they adhere to certain principles.

In the United States, federally registered trademarks must be maintained to remain active. In addition to periodic monitoring for infringement, registrants must file affidavits of use that demonstrate they are using the mark in commerce. International registries also require these filings to include specimens authenticating actual use of the mark in commerce.

A well-designed brand and dress helps customers connect a company’s products with its source in their minds. This helps build an influential brand, which in turn attracts customer loyalty.

Though the trademark registration process can be lengthy and intricate, it’s an essential step in safeguarding your brand’s identity.

Attorneys can protect your trademark by offering proactive enforcement and litigation support against infringers of your brand. In some cases, we may even stop a business from using your trademark without permission!

In the coming weeks, we will explore ways to make your company’s logo and dress as distinctive as possible. Doing this helps guarantee that your brand remains strong, leading to more loyal and lucrative customer bases.