Shining Light on IP Protection for Horse Products
Updated: Jan 27, 2020
We’re covering the latest news of patent protection in pet products. 2019 has
only just begun, but there are already equine innovations that have received U.S.
design patent protection this year.
One newly minted patent is for an LED lighting safety system for horses involving
attachment of a set of strings of LED lights to a horse’s tail, developed in
California. The illumination device can be used to increase the visibility of the
horse if riding at night; in parades; or by officers on patrol. US Design Patent
838,024 issued on January 8, 2019 and protects the arrangement of the light
strings for the product, which is sold at www.tail-lights.com.
Another new design patent this year is one for gel lined horse boots with elastic
stud fastening gained by Acavallo. D839,495 issued on January 29, 2019 and
protects the ornamental design of boots sold at www.acavallo.com. This patent
has a fifteen-year term, while the patent for the illumination device has only a
fourteen-year term. The reason that the period when the boot patent is in force
is longer is because the tail lights patent application was filed before the law
changed to increase the length of exclusivity for a design. Going forward, new
design patent applications will all get the fifteen-year term of protection.
Design patent protection is surprisingly affordable. Taking the first step in the
process to obtain a design patent from the federal government has a low cost.
The initial fees for submitting the patent application for the illumination device to
the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) cost under $200 because the
inventor was able to qualify for the least expensive fee category (microentity).
Besides the USPTO fees, the entrepreneur should also expect to pay attorney
service fees for preparing the application and draftsman’s fees for creating formal
drawings in order to file the design patent application. These costs will be
variable, depending upon how many drawings are required to fully describe the
Design patents protect the ornamental features of an item, and have the
advantages of 1) a relatively short time from application submission to USPTO
issuance; 2) relatively inexpensive cost for preparation and prosecution; 3) no
maintenance fees; and 4) lower likelihood of post-grant challenges. So a design
patent is certainly something an entrepreneur in the pet products business should
consider as a cost-effective way to protect the aesthetic aspects of a new