Although design patents fall under the umbrella of patent protection, they are very different from the utility patents commonly associated with patent protection. Design patents function to protect the way an article of manufacture looks and does not apply to the functional elements of the article of manufacture. As such, the subject matter claimed in a design patent is the design embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture (or portion thereof) and not the article itself.

As those well versed in intellectual property appreciate, there is some overlap between trade dress, copyrights and design patents. Welsh Flaxman & Gitler works with clients to determine the best mode, or combination of modes, of protection for clients wishing to protect intellectual property focusing upon the look, appearance or aesthetic elements of their endeavors.