What is a patent?
A patent is a property right granted by the federal government that allows the holder of the patent to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention without the patent holder's consent. A patent is typically granted to the inventor of a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter. Depending on the inventor's employment contract and the method of discovery, the inventor may be required to assign the rights in the patent to his or her employer - in which case, the patent would be granted to the employer and not the actual inventor.
There are three types of patents: utility, design, and plant patents. Each type has a different term, or length of protection, ranging from 15 to 20 years.
Utility patents are the most common types of patents. A utility patent is granted to someone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement.
Design patents are granted to those who invent a new ornamental design.
Plant patents are granted to someone who invents or discovers and is able to asexually reproduce a distinct and new plant variety.
Do I need a patent?
Anyone who has invented something may be eligible to apply for a patent. Since a patent grants the holder a right to exclude others from making, using, and selling, a patent may be desired on inventions that inventors do not want copied by competitors or others. There are several requirements to obtaining a patent so call me today to discuss your situation and if a patent is right for you!
How do I get a patent?
In order to obtain a patent, an application must be filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A patent attorney is required if an inventor does not choose to represent themselves when filing and prosecuting a patent application before the USPTO. Not all lawyers are qualified to practice patent law before the USPTO - you must use a registered practitioner, such as myself. An experienced patent attorney will be able to help carefully craft your patent and arguments for patentability that the inventor may not be aware of.
There are very technical rules for how and when a patent may be filed. Typically you are no longer eligible for patent protection if more than a year has passed since the invention was disclosed or sold.
The actual patent application needs to disclose how to make and use the invention, along with drawings, and what you are claiming the invention to be and include the proper filing fee required by the USPTO. The USPTO has a fee scale that allows price breaks for small companies and single inventors so that anyone may be able to afford to file a patent application.
Outside links for more information
General Information Concerning Patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Patent and Trademark Resource Center Locator
American Intellectual Property Law Association
World Intellectual Property Organization
Still have questions? Contact me today!
Call me today to start protecting your rights!