The patent was issued to Agustina Huckaby, a licensed cosmetologist in Fort Worth, Texas. It is the second design patent for a comb she has been granted.
A design patent is a specialized patent that protects the way something looks, rather than how it works. The USPTO has issued close to 13 million patents in all, including 11 million utility patents.
“Protecting their unique products can help entrepreneurs find funding and success in a competitive marketplace,” said Kathi Vidal, Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “Small businesses like Agustina’s have valuable intellectual property that they can protect and license — if they choose — through design patents.”
The USPTO has more than 300 design patent examiners.
Notable past design patents have included the original Coca-Cola bottle, the Statue of Liberty, the Medal of Honor, Harley Davidson motorcycles, Eames chairs, and Star Wars’ R2-D2 and the image of Yoda.
“Being able to own that design and having something for my kids to look up to and pass on, that’s groundbreaking to me. I want to keep growing, keep building, keep creating as much as I can,” Huckaby said.
The USPTO said it received more than 50,000 patent applications for design patent protection last year and has seen a 20% increase in applications over the last five years.
The first design patent issued was in 1842 to printer George Bruce for a new typeface, or font.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark office maintains a running list of patent milestones online.