There are three types of patents in the United States, namely, utility patent, plant patent, and design patent. As the name implies, a utility patent protects the utility of an invention, the utility of a product, or the utility of a process or method. A plant patent protects a plant, just like it says. It has to be asexually produced, a newly discovered plant. A design patent, again, protects the ornamental feature, or the aesthetic value, of a patent. The design patent cannot also be functional in reference to a utility patent. It cannot have a function. It has to only protect the aesthetic value of the article or the product.