Filing for a patent is a very important step to ensure that your inventions or innovations are protected, both in and out of the United States. If you have come up with an idea that you believe is unique, useful, and non-obvious, then you should contact The Patent Professor as soon as possible to speak with a professional about how the patent application process works, how we can help, and why you should begin this process immediately.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office handles all patent applications in the United States and has a very rigorous and detailed application that requires extensive information and documentation to give you be best chances of an approval. The process can be extremely daunting even for the most experienced inventor, which is why a patent lawyer in Boynton Beach may be one of the most important steps that you take in order to complete this process as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Read more below about the basics of patent applications in the United States, and contact us as soon as you can in order to begin your own process of protecting your intellectual property. The Patent Professor has over 20 years of experience helping clients secure legal protection for their innovations, and we will be happy to assist you on your own journey.
Should I File a Patent?
There are a few different questions that you can ask yourself about your idea or innovation to get a basic idea of whether or not you should file for a patent. The most important question is, of course, whether or not you want to have legal protections for your intellectual property. In some cases, people innovate and leave their work as open source, but if that is not your intention, then the following questions are important to answer:
- Is your invention novel? If it already exists, then you will be unable to patent it.
- Is your invention useful? Your invention must have a clear use, and be able to operate as expected.
- Is it non-obvious? If your patent application is for a simple and slight alteration to an existing product, then you will likely not be able to receive a patent.
If you are able to answer ‘yes’ to these questions, or if you are uncertain, but are positive that you want to protect your intellectual property from unauthorized reproduction, then contact The Patent Professor now. We will work with you to determine the validity of your idea, and make a suggestion on how to proceed based on our 20+ years of experience helping clients successfully file patent applications.
Types of Patents in the United States
The patent database system is a complicated part of the USPTO, but for good reason: it offers a series of categories and sub-categories that allow people to navigate the massive collection of patents with relative ease. Although there are many sub-categories, they are compiled into three main designations that each serve a different purpose for a different use and application. The standard patent term is 20 years, other than design patents, which have a 14-year term.
A utility patent is the most common patent that the USPTO receives applications for and makes up for over 90% of all applications. A utility patent can be a machine, a process, a composition, or anything else that has a specific use, is not a design, and is not a plant. For example, a utility patent may be applied for if someone discovers a new process to build a table in a novel, non-obvious, and useful manner, or a new chemical compound that is useful in some way. As technology advances, the scope of utility patents broadens and can now include biotechnologies and other advanced technologies that were not even imagined when the first patents were being issued.
A design patent is much different than a utility patent, in that it CAN NOT have an actual function. If there is a function inherent in the design, then we will need to explore whether it is a utility patent, or if we will need to apply for both in order to protect your innovation. A design patent is issued for a 14-year term in order to protect the ornamental design of a useful product.
Design patents may be confusing for some, as they wonder if they should be applying for a trademark or an actual patent. A trademark is issued for an image, design, or something else that is meant to represent your brand or company. A design patent is issued for the appearance of a useful item. If you are unsure of how to proceed, contact us now.
Plant patents make up less than ¼ of 1% of all patent applications (0.18% in 2015). A plant patent is issued for any new, non-obvious, non-tuber plant that can be reproduced asexually. If the plant is grown from a seed, pod, or another method of sexual reproduction, then it will not qualify for a patent. Algae and fungi are considered to be plants, but bacteria are not included in this patent category.
How Can The Patent Professor Help?
Inventing and innovating is strenuous and time-consuming work, and once you have invented something worth patenting, your work has only begun. The patent application process is notoriously complicated and bureaucratic, and for good reason: USPTO agents must ensure that each approved patent application does not infringe on existing patents or existing items, and must clearly define what is being approved in all future patents as well to avoid overlap. This process can be very frustrating and confusing, but it is extremely important in order to protect and encourage future innovation.
The Patent Professor can help you with every step of this process. The first thing that we will do is an extensive database search to determine how likely your patent application is to be approved based on existing patents.
Once we decide to move forward with your application, we will handle all of the forms while you are able to focus on expanding your business or planning how to capitalize on your innovation once you have secured legal protections. We will be sure that all of the information about your invention is clearly provided in your application, and will work with you to ensure that your application will be complete and comprehensive when you submit it.
Contact The Patent Professor Now
Before you begin the application process yourself, contact us now to speak with a patent attorney in Boynton Beach. Our 20 years of experience with helping clients get approved for their patent protections will be a major help to you in this big step towards your future.
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