A patent is important because it helps to safeguard an invention, design, or process. According to 35 U.S.C. 101, “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent thereof, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title”. A patent holder has the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling, or importing the patented invention. Once a patent is granted by the USPTO it is the patent holders duty to enforce patent protections. If you are unsure of whether or not your idea needs a patent, trademark, or copyright, contact the Patent Professor for a free consultation.

What Patent Would I Need?

If you have created a new idea or invention, then you should protect your intellectual property through patent prosecution. It’s quite common to feel overwhelmed with patent terms and the process but it is fundamental that you gain a basic understanding of the three patent types. The three types of patents include:
  • Utility Patent – The Utility Patent is one of the most commonly needed patents. The Utility Patent covers inventions that fall into one or more of the following categories of machine, a process, an improvement of an existing idea, a manufacturer, and a composition of matter. Utility patents last 20 years from the date of filing your patent application.
  • Design Patent – Design patents are patents for a product aesthetic design only. This means that something need not be functional for a design patent, simply entirely for beauty aesthetic or ornamental. Design patents can be filed along with utility patents if both the function and the aesthetic design of the product are new and unique. Design patents may be also be used to patent computer imagery. Design patents cover a term of 14 or 15 years from the date of issue.
  • Plant Patent – The plant patent is the least used patent. This patent type is used specifically for new types of asexually reproducing plants. The term for this patent type is 20 years from the application date. The granting of this patent prevents people and businesses, outside of the patent holder, from creating the same type of plant or profiting from it during the 20-year patent term.
The filing of a patent has many steps that are quite complex. If you are contemplating patent prosecution you are encouraged to seek the counsel of a specialized attorney who is familiar with the process of writing and filing patent applications specific to your industry.

What Is The Process For Obtaining A Patent?

The first step to pursuing a patent is to speak with an attorney and thoroughly explain to them what your invention is, how it works, and how it is designed. The attorney may require you to provide drawings, a written description, possible photos, and videos if you already have the prototype. An attorney carefully evaluates all of the information that you provide and determines whether or not your idea is patentable. If the attorney determines that your idea or invention is patentable they will write the patent application on your intellectual property. When the patent application is written the attorney will ask that you read the application and verify that all information contained in the application is correct. Once you’ve approved the application, the attorney will file the application with the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Nonprovisional (filing for patent prosecution), filings are often reviewed by patent examiner 12 to 30 months after the filing date. When the application is reviewed the patent examiner may issue an office action and the attorney will respond to the actions. An office of action is a formal decision written by the patent examiner the contains reasons for any adverse action or objection or request for an amendment of the application. There are usually multiple office actions issued before an examiner issues a final action (rejection of patent application), rejecting all of the claims in the original application.

What is a Provisional Patent Application

A provisional application can never become a patent as it’s never examined by a patent examiner at USPTO. The provisional application is commonly filed simply to establish a filing date and provide the inventor with a patent pending status for 12 months. Should the inventor want to potentially obtain a patent with the provisional filing date, the provisional application has to be converted before the conclusion of the 12 months as it is considered abandoned at that time. Some of the benefits of filing a provisional patent application include:
  • Simplified filing with a lower initial investment with 12 months to assess the invention before the financial commitment of filing a non-provisional application for patent
  • Establishes an official United States application patent application filing date
  • Allows the authorized use of patent pending notice for 12 months with a description of the idea or invention
  • Allows immediate commercial promotion of invention with greater security against having inventions stolen
  • Allows applicants to obtain (USPTO) certified copies

Protect Your Inventions

If you’re unsure of whether or not your intellectual property qualifies for patent protection, contact John Rizvi, the Patent Professor. If the Patent Professor doesn’t determine that your invention is patentable or that you’re ready for patent protection at this time, he will tell you so you don’t waste time and money. The Patent Professor has over 20 years of experience assisting inventors and entrepreneurs obtain patent protection for their intellectual property. The Patent Professor can help you make an informed decision and streamline the process by providing a thorough evaluation of your idea or invention. Contact The Patent Professor to discuss your patent’s eligibility.

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