On December 5, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act, which will implement several significant changes to U.S. design patent law when approved by President Obama.

The significant changes will include:

  • extending the term of design patents filed after the effective date of the Act to 15 years (from the current 14 years); and
  • allowing U.S. applicants to file an international design application before entering the national stage in U.S. and foreign countries; and
  • establishing provisional rights for design patent holders to seek damages for pre-issuance infringement if the international application published before the U.S. design patent was granted.

President Obama is expected to approve the law before the end of this month.