Australian designs, Victorian designs, British designs, American designs

United States registered designs - 'design patents'

H2011.52/363 Cavalcade Radio
Cavalcade radio

United States registered designs are called design patents. They may be granted for any new, original or ornamental design for an article of manufacture.

Only the appearance of an article is protected by a design patent grant, and not the structural or utilitarian features.

Design patents are prefixed with the letter 'D' and were first registered in 1843 (No.D1), and the current term of grant is 14 years from the date of issue.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office lists the classes of U.S. designs.  The classes are listed on their website


Journals - print

Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office - 1872 to 1901 + 1923 to 1985 - YA 608 UN3G - contains a descriptive list of design patents from 1872 +, and from 5th April 1892, drawings are included. These journals are held offsite, and issues need to be pre-ordered by staff.

Indexes - print

A bicycle grass cutter IAN01/11/95/18

Name indexes

1845 to 1871 - Alphabetical list of names in each annual volume of the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents  (NOTE that the State Library's has incomplete holdings from 1845 to 1871)

1872 + annual name index in each volume of Index of patents issued from the United States Patent Office (NOTE that the State Library only has incomplete holdings from 1927 to 1985)

Numerical indexes

1845 to 1871 - Numerical list of design patents in each annual volume of the Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents (State Library's holdings are incomplete)  

Subject indexes

1790 to 1873 - Alphabetical list articles (eg badge, chair, table) registered as US design patents, is listed in Volume 3 (pages 1,858 to 1,911) of Subject-matter index of patents for inventions issued by the United States Patent Office from 1790 to 1873, inclusive (1976) (Volumes 1-3) - R 608 UN3S.

Classified indexes

Annual classified index published from 1872 + in each volume of Index of patents issued from the United States Patent Office (NOTE that the State Library only has incomplete holdings from 1927 to 1985)

Online resources

56990 C R Place 25 Jan 1921
Hat design patent C R Place
Design 56990  25 Jan 1921

US patents search via USPTO web site

USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) - Search Page

US patents search via Google patents

Google Patents

Limit searches to design patents (1843 +) by selecting 'Design (D)' in the 'Patent type/status' field.

PDF files of US patents - Search by US design patent numbers and display full text of all US design patents

US patent numbers

Date and Number table of US patents

Note that US Patents from 1790 to 1836 were issued by name and date, but no number was allocated.

The current system of numbering US patents began on 13 July 1836. Design patents are prefixed with the letter 'D', were first registered in 1843.

Statue of Liberty design patent

The Statue of Liberty was designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor. In 1879 he registered design patent D11,023 for this monumental sculpture.


A. BARTHOLDI. Statue of Liberty  No. 11,023. Patented Feb. 18,1879,