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Patents on Product Designs Strengthened by New Law

Protections for design patents has been strengthened by a new law that has been signed by U.S. president Barack Obama.

The Patent Law Treaties Implantation Act of 2012 applies changes to federal patent law to implement two 5-year-old treaties, which are the Patent Law Treaty and the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. The purpose of said treaties is to make the process of applying for a patent consistent within member countries.

Inventors will now be able to file patents around the world by utilizing a single application, with the bill scheduled to come into fruition around a year from now. Additionally, it'll increase the term of design patents by one year from 14 to 15.

The new bill will also make it easier for U.S. companies to combat knockoffs of their products. It's expected that the law will subsequently lead to a new slate of design patent applications from foreign firms who want to protect their intellectual property in ways the courts will support.

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