If you believe that you’ve come up with a unique or novel invention, design, or plant, it is strongly recommended that you file for a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office immediately. A patent is meant to protect inventors from unfair competition from people stealing their invention and bringing it to market. Navigating the patent application process can be complicated, and oftentimes determining if you are able to patent your ideas is equally as complicated. Luckily, The Patent Professor is available to help you through the steps if you need a patent attorney in Miami.
What is a Patent?
A patent is a legal designation that protects an inventor from having their idea replicated for a set period of time. If the US Patent and Trademark Office determines an invention to be unique, useful, and novel during the course of an application, then they will issue a patent that gives exclusive rights to the inventor. By using a patent, inventors are able to develop their ideas and bring them to market without additionally worrying about competing with other entities who have repeated their invention, therefore flooding the market with knockoffs of their intellectual property. There are a few types of patents you can apply for, depending on the nature of your invention.
Utility patents are the most commonly-applied for types of patents in the United States. A utility patent covers any type of machine (such as a computer, vehicle, gadget, or device), chemical compound, or process. In order for a utility to be eligible for patent, it must be determined to be useful, unique or novel, and non-obvious. This means that the machine must have real-life application, does not replicate another existing patent, and is not so simple that it would be restrictive to many existing utilities if it were to be patented. If your invention involves a new object, process, or chemical compound or set of ingredients, it is likely that you will want to apply for a utility patent, not a design or plant patent. A utility patent is covered by a 20-year term upon issuance by the USPTO.
A design patent differs from a utility patent in that it protects the appearance and design of an item. This could be the stylings of a car, casing of a computer or cell phone, or shape of a household object like a vacuum. Design patents are intended to keep “knock-off” products from ending up in the market that mislead consumers into believing they are buying a trusted brand. Some well-known design patents include the iPad and other Apple products. If you believe that your design is unique, and important to your brand but does not affect that actual operation of your product, then you will likely want to file for a design patent. A design patent has a 14-year term that begins as soon as it is issued.
A plant patent covers any unique plant (excluding tubers) that an inventor is able to create asexually. The reason for the requirement of asexual creation is to ensure that the plant can not already be grown from seed. This can include grafting, cutting, or rooting hybrid plants. The patent protects the patent holder for 20 years, in which time they are allowed to maintain control over production, distribution, licensing, or sales of their unique plant.
A Provisional Application for a patent is a legal filing with the USPTO that establishes a filing date for the invention, but is not considered a full patent until the inventor files a complete patent application. The applicant has one year to file a full patent application in order to mature their rights to a full patent. The Provisional Application is NOT a patent, but once the patent application has been filed, the invention may be marketed as “patent pending.” This option is lower-cost, and requires less information than a full patent application, but is term-limited to one year and does not offer as much protection as a complete patent. The best function for a provisional patent is to act as a “placeholder” while you are able to finalize your documentation for a complete patent application.
Can I Patent My Idea?
If you believe that you have invented a novel utility, plant, process, or design, you may be eligible to protect your invention with a U.S. patent. For your idea to be eligible for patent, it must be determined to be novel (different from existing inventions), useful (beneficial), and non-obvious (not already existing naturally or only slightly different from another patent). If you believe that your idea meets the aforementioned requirements, you should consult with a patent attorney immediately. By their nature, patents can be complicated and gray. Employing the assistance of a patent attorney is extremely valuable — you will be able to get help with determining your eligibility, reviewing your applications, verifying your ideas, and verifying that you have covered all requirements before submitting.
Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Patents
In Miami, job growth in the next ten years is predicted to be 42.7%. It’s expected that the economy will improve, which could make for more competition for inventors. Therefore, it’s more important than ever for inventors to file for patents. Without one, a competitor could take your idea and use it for their own gain. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding of patent law keeps many individuals from obtaining patents. There are a few things you should know about patents.
1. What Types of Inventions Can Receive Patents?
There are many types of inventions and ideas that are eligible for patents. Typically, your best bet is to speak to a patent attorney in Miami. They can explain more about the requirements for patents. That said, many types of inventions qualify for patents. Software, bedroom furniture, and even carpet designs can receive patents. In fact, you can get a patent for an object in almost any niche.
2. Does Your Patent Protect You in Other Countries?
Your patent may only grant you protection in the US. In some cases, it only protects you in a certain area or territory. If you want to keep your idea safe in another country, you need to look into their patent laws. You need to qualify for their patent and also go through the proper channels for filing your application.
3. How Long Does a Patent Last?
If you receive a patent, you don’t have a lifetime of protection. Your patent is only enforceable for 20 years. The term begins from the moment you file your application. That said, there are some exceptions.
4. Does the Government Enforce Your Patent?
Although your patent protects you, it’s up to you to enforce the patent. Consider this example. Someone else is making and selling your product, but you have a patent. Unless you file a civil lawsuit against them, no one will stop them from infringing on your patent. You need to be proactive. To successfully hold the other party responsible, you need to have evidence of the infringement. If you work with an attorney, they can help you build a case.
5. Can You License or Sell a Patent?
Your patent comes with many benefits. One of those benefits is the ability to sell or license your patent. If you sell it, you give up all rights to your idea. But licensing is very different. When you license your invention, you allow another person or business to get rights to your idea. This could mean selling, using, or manufacturing your product or service. In a licensing agreement, you outline the specifics of the deal. You can grant the permission for a set time, set a rate for royalties, and mention other parameters. If you don’t have the means to sell your invention, licensing could be a good option. It allows you to make money without spending all of your resources on marketing or production. Furthermore, it’s an ideal option for those who prefer a hands-off approach to making money.
Do I Need An Attorney to File For a Patent?
You are not required to file a patent application with the help of an attorney, but it is highly recommended. The process is complex, and for someone who is unfamiliar with the process, it can be extremely intimidating. The forms and information required in an application tends to be extremely specific, and a failure to complete these applications with all of the relevant documentation may lead to a rejection. Although a rejection is not final, any lost time in getting total legal control over your invention can be detrimental to your success. By enlisting the help of a trained professional through this process, you can be assured that your patent application is being handled properly, and your chances of success will be greatly increased.
Can The Patent Professor Help With My Application?
If you are looking for a patent attorney in Miami, The Patent Professor is available to help you from start to finish. We have extensive experience with patent law, and will be happy to guide you through the process of protecting your intellectual property. Your rights are important to us.