Shoe Patents

If you are interested in obtaining shoe patents, it is useful to do a little research into patents in general and what the application process looks like.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“U.S. PTO”) is the agency that has jurisdiction over granting patents in the U.S. A patent is a mechanism whereby an inventor can legally protect his invention from subsequent duplicate inventions. A patent owner can generally expect his property right in that patent to last for fourteen years.

There are three general categories of patents:

• Utility

• Plant

• Design

A patent for a new shoe would likely fall under the design patent. While a utility patent protects the way something is used, a design patent typically protects the way something looks, including its shape, surface, etc.

How to Patent a Shoe Design

If you have come up with a new shoe design and are thinking of applying for a patent, it is a good idea to keep track of everything you are doing and have done in the past, such as any drawings of the shoe, any notes you took during the process, or anyone you might have spoken to about the shoe. Keep all of this information in a safe place, as you will likely need to reproduce it at some point in the patent application process. If you have constructed a prototype of a shoe, you should also take photographs during the process and retain those as well. To be extra careful, you may want to date and sign the photographs, and have one or two people watch you sign so they can be witnesses.

The patent process can get pretty expensive, so before you spend tons of money completing the application, you should be fairly certain that the shoe, if granted a patent, can make you enough of a profit to be worth the investment. If you are ever unsure or have any questions about the process, it is highly advisable to seek out an experience patent agent or attorney so they can help you through the process while protecting your best interests.

However, before you get too invested in the process and the new shoe design, you should always conduct a preliminary patent search to see if there is another shoe that is similar that already has an issued patent. If you do this early enough in the process, it can save you time and money if you end up having to redesign your shoe based on what designs are already patented. The U.S. PTO has a free patent search engine available for public use.

Once you’ve completed the search and decide to move forward with the patent application, you can file electronically on the U.S. PTO’s website. Prior to submitting the application, you will need to provide detailed information about yourself and your shoe design. You will also need to submit any illustrations or photographs that visually show what the shoe would look like. Once you have completed all of this information, you will need to pay the associated fees before submitting the application. Be sure to save and print the U.S. PTO’s acknowledgment of receipt as proof of submission.

Protecting a Shoe Design Patent

A patent owner has a few different options available if he or she believes someone is infringing on his or her valid patent rights. The owner, if successful in an infringement suit, can collect damages. There are a few different ways a court will calculate damages.

1.Compensatory damages with “reasonable royalty” – In this case, the infringer would have to pay a royalty in the amount that would have resulted from a contract between the owner and the infringer if the owner licensed out to the infringer certain rights to make, use or sell the shoe design.

2.Disgorged profits – In this case, the infringer would have to pay back any profits he or she made to the patent owner when he or she illegally used, made or sold the shoe design. This is meant to prevent unjust enrichment to the infringer and to make the patent owner whole again.

If you need help conducting a preliminary patent search, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.