If you are considering applying for a patent in Las Vegas, Nevada, The Patent Professor is available to help you from start to finish. Applications through the United States Patent and Trade Office can be complicated, extensive, and confusing, but with the guidance of an experienced legal professional, you can have confidence through the entire process. Oftentimes, an invention that meets all criteria will be rejected because of errors in the application, missed forms, or other clerical errors. The Patent Professor has 20 years of experience with successful patent applications, and is ready to help you realize your dreams.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a legal method to protect an inventors intellectual property for a period of time. A patent can be issued for a plant, a machine, a design, a process, and more. When a patent is issued, the inventor (or the patent-holder, if it is someone different) has exclusive rights to the production, sales, and marketing of their invention. A patent does not last forever, but the intent is to give the creator ample time to capitalize on their ideas without worrying about competitors replicating it and overwhelming the market. For a patent to be issued, it must meet extensive requirements to ensure that the patent does not already exist, that it won’t infringe on existing businesses, and more. There are three different types of main patents that are issued, and are explained in greater detail below.

Utility Patent

The USPTO  designates this patent for, essentially, anything that can be used. This means that a machine, a computer, a gadget, a chemical compound, and even a specific process is considered a utility. For any of these to be considered patentable, it must be determined that it is novel, unique, and non-obvious. This means that a process must be a very precise way of doing something that produces a specific result at the end. The result does not have to be unique, but the method of getting to it must be notably different than any existing method of achieving that outcome. Similarly, a chemical or compound is a unique combination of ingredients that produces a unique (and useful) substance or material. For a utility to be considered non-obvious, it must not simply make slight alterations to an existing patent, cannot copy an existing patent, and cannot be something that already occurs naturally or in the public domain. A successful utility patent grants the applicant a 20-year term.

Design Patent

A design patent applies specifically to the appearance of an item, and excludes its function entirely. This type of patent grants exclusive rights to certain ornamental or superficial aspects of a product that makes it unique and identifiable against other products. If the design also serves a function, it may be considered a utility or may require both patents be filed. These patents protect the patent-holder from having to deal with knock-off designs in the market that would dilute the product value and erode consumer trust. If you are unsure of whether you should be applying for a design patents or a utility patent (or both), consult with The Patent Professor today. This patent carries a 14-year term.

Plant Patent

A plant patent is a specific type of patent for newly-developed plants, excluding tubers such as potatoes. The first requirement of a plant patent is that the applicant must have created the plant asexually. This means that the plant can not grow from a seed or pod (meaning it already existed), but instead must be created with grafting or another type of hybridization that indicates the plant doesn’t already naturally occur. Even if the plant is produced asexually, it must then be determined that it does not already exist as a patented plant, and must be new and distinct from anything else. Plant patents carry a 20-year term from the time of issuance, and allow the inventor full rights of the plant for the length of the patent term.

Provisional Application for Patent

A provisional application is not a full patent, but is a common precursor to one. When you submit a provisional application, you are not required to submit as extensive an application as a full patent, and is a useful tool for when you are in early development of your invention and need to put a temporary protective measure on it so you can continue to finalize the idea. When you have a provisional application, you are able to designate your invention as “Patent Pending,” and have 12 months to submit a full patent application. If you do not submit your full application within the 12 months, you will be unable to convert your provisional application into a full patent. In the 12-month period of a provisional application, you will be able to market your product as Patent Pending, which adds credibility to your intellectual property while you determine the next steps to take. Your attorney may advise that you file a provisional application immediately in order to give yourself more time to put together a complete patent application, while still being granted protection from having your ideas stolen.

Should I File For a Patent?

If you have invented a new utility or plant, or have a unique design that you do not want replicated, then you should consider applying for a patent to protect your intellectual property. Under the protection granted by a patent, you will be able to pursue your idea without fear of being replicated in the market. Patents don’t necessarily protect you from competition from alternatives, but you can be confident that your unique idea will not be stolen from you. Discuss your idea and options with The Patent Professor to identify any possible blockers, get help completing your application, and be confident that you are providing all necessary information. In addition, The Patent Professor will assist you in researching existing patents to ensure that your application is truly unique.

How Can The Patent Professor Help Me?

The Patent Professor has over 20 years of experience with patents, applications, and more. If you are unfamiliar or intimidated with the complicated process of filing for a patent, you can file with confidence knowing you have the help of experienced professionals. The Patent Professor will be with you every step of the way to ensure that no details are missed, all necessary protections are covered, and that you will be able to pursue your dreams knowing you have protection under the US legal system.

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