If you are planning to apply for a patent in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, The Patent Professor is your best resource to ensure your application is successful. The patent application process through the United States Patent and Trademark Office can be complicated and confusing, but with the help of an experienced professional to guide you through each step, you can expect a simple path to completion. Oftentimes, an application will be rejected because of incomplete or incorrect information, missing forms, or slight missteps in the procedure. The Patent Professor has been guiding clients through patent applications for 20 years.

What Is a Patent?

A patent is a legal designation for a unique invention that gives the patent holder exclusive rights to manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of the patented product. Patents are issued for plants, utilities (processes, machines, chemical compounds, etc.), or designs, and are intended to allow for inventors to capitalize on their original inventions without the added pressures of competition or finding the market flooded with their intellectual property. Patents are not granted without extensive vetting, and the patent office puts a strong focus on keeping patents from restricting the market by allowing exclusivity rights for common, obvious, or non-novel ideas. If the patent office determines that the proposed invention is unique and useful, the patent is issued and the inventor can use the patent term to improve their product and capitalize on their work. Read more about each type of patent below:

Utility Patent

A utility patent applies to anything that is determined to be unique, non-obvious, and useful. Utility patents focus entirely on the usefulness of the invention, and covers the actual function of the invention as opposed to the appearance (design patents). This could include a unique chemical compound, a machine such as a computer or a vehicle, or a process of production that has not been discovered or patented yet. A utility patent will not be issued for something that is determined to be “obvious,” in that it cannot simply alter an existing utility slightly. It must also be novel, meaning it can not be something that is commonly known and used but simply has not been patented (mowing your lawn with a standard lawn mower in a certain direction is a process, but is not novel or patentable). Utility patents are issued with 20-year terms, meaning the patent holder has 20 years to focus on their intellectual property without fear of their product being replicated in the market.

Design Patent

A design patent is issued to protect appearance, and does not take function into account at all. A design patent can be issued for a certain combination of colors, a packaging design for a phone or a car, or anything else that gives specific indications to the product belonging to a certain brand. Design patents can be — and often are — issued alongside utility patents, because they each cover something very different. An example of a design patent is a pair of Nike running shoes with a specific sole. This sole design is an indicator of a Nike product, and therefore any third party replicating this sole will confuse the market and potentially mislead customers. This sole design may serve a specific utility, meaning that it also carries utility patents, and carries trademarks that protect the brand itself. A design is eligible for a patent if it is determined to be entirely unique. Design patents are issued with 14-year terms.

Plant Patent

It may be surprising to first discover that plants are patentable, but there are very specific criteria for this to be allowed. First, the plant must be produced asexually, meaning that it did not grow from a seed or pod. A patent applicant must have created the plant with a graft or some other type of hybridization — if the plant grew from a pod or seed, then it previously existed and is therefore not new. After a plant is determined to be produced asexually, it must additionally be determined that is an entirely new plant. Tubers, such as potatoes, are not eligible for patent protection. Proven Winners is a well-known plant company, and holds many patents for their products that prohibit unauthorized reproduction. Plant patents carry a 20-year term.

Provisional Application for Patent

A provisional application for a patent is not considered a full patent, but is a less expensive and less complicated option for an initial invention. The provisional applicant is granted 12 months to submit a complete patent application, in which time they are able to market their invention as “patent pending.” A provisional application is issued with less information required than a full patent, but offers fewer protections that a full patent as well.

Should I File For a Patent?

If you believe that you have invented a novel process, utility, compound, design, or plant, then it is highly recommended that you file for a patent in order to protect your intellectual property. If you are confused about whether or not your invention is eligible for a patent, or you are unsure of the complicated application process, contact The Patent Professor today for a consultation. We will help you explore existing patents, determine the best options, and guide you through your application from start to finish.

How Can The Patent Professor Help Me?

If you are considering filing a patent in Fort Lauderdale, look no further than The Patent Professor for all of the guidance you need. Determining your eligibility for a patent can be complicated by itself, but the actual process of application can be very overwhelming. There are extensive forms, lots of information and documentation required, and can be very opaque. Oftentimes applicants are rejected simply for submitting incorrect information, or omitting required information entirely. The USPTO is not available to guide you through the process, so you may find yourself very confused about what to do next at any stop of the way. The Patent Professor has 20 years of experience with assisting clients with their patent applications, and we will be happy to help you with yours.

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