If you believe that you have come up with a unique invention, whether it is a design, utility, plant, chemical compound, or machine, contact The Patent Professor today to discuss the next steps necessary to protect your intellectual property through the United States Patent and Trade Office. If you need a patent lawyer in Atlanta look no further than The Patent Professor, with over 20 years of experience in helping clients with patents for their unique ideas, and will be happy to help you with yours today. Filing for a patent can be complicated, and the requirements can seem confusing for even the most experienced of inventors. We are here to help, because we understand that dealing with the stress of a pending patent application can take away from your important time, which you could be spending working on developing your invention more and exploring how best to capitalize on it. There are many specific requirements for patents in the United States, starting with a series of overall designations on the type of patent that can be applied for. Read more below to learn about the types of patents issued in the US, and how The Patent Professor will help you with this important step in your process as an American inventor.

What Is a Patent?

Patents are legal protections that are issued for inventions that are determined to be unique and non-obvious. If you are unsure if your invention will pass these standards during the patent application process, speak with The Patent Professor today. Our 20 years of experience is a major asset during the application process, but can be invaluable when determining your patent eligibility as well. A patent is an important part of American business, because without having protection for your idea, any other company could replicate your idea and capitalize on it as well. Patents encourage innovation, and protect inventors so that they can focus on growing a business around their invention without worrying about competing against knock-off products. If you do not have a patent on an idea and approach a manufacturer or company about production or licensing, there is nothing stopping them from taking your idea and marketing it as their own — or even getting a patent that blocks you from working on your idea at all. Patents are broken down into a series of designations: utility, plant, and design. Read more below about each patent.

Utility Patent

A utility patent is granted for any invention that serves an actual function. This could be a process, a chemical compound, a machine, or item, as long as it is found to be unique, non-obvious, and useful. For an invention to be determined as unique, it must not exist in any previous patents granted by the USPTO, and can not be a simple alteration to an existing patent like a simple adjustment to a hairbrush. “Non-obvious” means that the utility does not entail something that is common knowledge already – you will not be able to patent skipping a rock by throwing it. If your invention is unique, it is important to understand exactly what makes it unique and novel, so that you can protect these aspects with a patent and not worry about replicants entering the market because they simply navigated around your patent because it didn’t cover all aspects of the idea. Utility patents last for 20 years.

Design Patent

A design patent is different from a utility patent because it simply applies to the appearance of an item. This could be the package design of your invention, the color scheme, or anything else that acts as a clear distinction between your product and another. If your design is found to be integral to the function of your product, then you will likely be required to file for a utility patent in tandem with the design, provided that it meets all criteria for both. If we determine that the design is purely aesthetic and unique, then we will move forward on applying for a standalone design patent. With the protection of a design patent, you can ensure that competitors will not be able to produce lower-quality products and devalue your brand by copying the appearance of your trusted products. Design patents last for 14 years.

Plant Patent

A plant patent is issued for any non-tuber plant that is determined to be novel and unique, and must be reproduced asexually. Asexual reproduction of a patentable plant can be done by any variety of hybridization processes, but if a plant is grown from seed or any other form of natural replication, then will not be eligible for a patent. The hybridized plant must be repeatedly replicable. There are a variety of nuances about what can and cannot be patented in regards to plants, and The Patent Professor will be happy to explain and explore these with you to determine the validity of your potential plant patent. A plant patent is valid for 20 years from issuance.

Provisional Application for Patent

Before your final patent is issued, you may decide to file a provisional application. This is a 12-month provisional application that allows you to market your invention as “patent pending” while you are completing your final application. If you do not submit a full application during this 12-month period, you will be ineligible for a full patent.

Should I Apply For a Patent?

If you are unsure of whether or not you are eligible, The Patent Professor will be happy to lend 20+ years of experience in helping you determine the next steps to take. The application process can be complicated itself, but determining whether or not you will be able to successfully apply is a separate process entirely. It requires extensive research, and a firm understanding of the US patent system. When you partner with a patent attorney in Atlanta, you can be confident that all necessary research is done correctly before you begin your application process.

Can The Patent Professor Help Me?

The Patent Professor can help you with every step of your patent process in Atlanta. When you partner with an experienced patent attorney, you can be certain that all necessary steps are taken during this complicated process, while freeing up more time for you to focus on your invention and the steps you will take after getting approval. Contact us today to take the next steps during this exciting time.