If you are looking for a patent attorney in Orlando, Florida, contact The Patent Professor today. We have over 20 years of experience with successful patent applications, and we are looking forward to helping you realize your dreams with ease. Applying for a patent can be a complicated process, and dealing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office can be opaque and confusing. Submit your application with confidence, knowing that you have the best professionals making sure every box is checked, every question is answered, and every form is included. Often, a perfectly-legitimate invention will be rejected because of incomplete applications or slight mistakes in the application procedure—protect your invention as quickly as possible with our help.

What Is a Patent?

A patent is a legal tool that protects inventors from having their ideas copied for a period of time. Patents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have a set term limit for this protection, which is intended to give the inventors ample time to capitalize on their intellectual property without fear of knock-off products appearing in the market. Patents cover a range of inventions, and are broken down into three designations: utility, design, and plant. Learn more about each in the following section. In order for a patent to be issued by the USPTO, it must meet stringent criteria that ensure that the patent will not infringe on another patent or restrict the market beyond the intended protection. The invention in question must be determined to be unique, useful, and cannot be obvious or common knowledge. If the application meets these requirements, the application will be approved.

Utility Patent

A utility, according to the USPTO, includes any invention that is used. For a patent to be issued, the utility must be determined to be novel, unique, and useful. Therefore, a utility can be a machine like a gadget, vehicle, or item, a unique chemical compound, or a specific process. Utility patents will not be issued for anything that is “obvious” in that it is something that is commonly known, or “non-novel,” meaning it cannot be a slight alteration of an existing object that does not clearly designate it as a separate utility. The same goes for a process—a patent will not be issued for washing your dishes with traditional tools but in a slightly different order, even though it is a process. Utility patents have a 20-year term that grants the patent holder a significant amount of time to focus on improving their invention without fear of competitors diluting the market with the exact same utility.

Design Patent

A design patent is issued for purely-aesthetic aspects of a product. If the design serves a specific and unique function as well as have a unique appearance, it may be considered a utility, or may require a patent be issued for both a design AND a utility. This is not uncommon. Design patents are issued to protect the patent-holder from competitors replicating the appearance of their product, which can confuse consumers and erode trust in their product. If the design or appearance of the product is determined to be completely unique, then it may be eligible for a patent. Design patents are issued for 14 years.

Plant Patent

The third type of patent option is a plant patent, and is eligible for any unique plant that has been produced asexually (excluding tubers). Asexual reproduction may include grafting or any other form of hybridization, and the resulting plant must be unique to any existing patent or plant. If the plant grows from a germinated seed or pod, it has been produced naturally and therefore will not qualify for a patent. Potatoes and other root plants are not eligible for patent protection. If you are issued a plant patent, you will have a 20-year term in order to capitalize on your intellectual property.

Provisional Application for Patent

If you have developed a novel plant, design, or utility, but are only in a preliminary stage, you may want to consider a provisional application. A provisional application does not provide you with the same protections as a patent, but instead grants inventors a 12-month period to develop the invention into something that is defined enough to be issued a patent. During this 12-month period, you are allowed to designate your product as “patent pending,” but if you fail to apply for a full patent within that period, you will be ineligible to do so at all. Your attorney may suggest submitting a provisional application initially, so that you have more time to gather the required information to fully protect your invention.

Should I File For a Patent?

If you believe that you have a novel and useful invention, it is in your best interest to apply for a patent to protect your intellectual property. The process itself can be complicated and confusing, but The Patent Professor has extensive experience with patents and patent applications and will be happy to guide you through the process. Contact us today for an initial consultation so that we can determine the validity of your patent claim, the necessary next steps, and give you peace of mind to ensure that your invention will receive the protection you deserve.

How Can The Patent Professor Help Me?

Before you apply for a patent in Orlando, contact The Patent Professor to determine your best course of action. Our history of successful patent applications means that we are able to understand your circumstance, identify the most effective course of action, and guide you to a favorable outcome simply and easily. The application process can be daunting and intimidating, but with our assistance you can move forward with confidence. Too often, perfectly legitimate inventions are denied patents because of incomplete applications, omitted information, or other simple procedural errors. The USPTO is not available to assist you with your application, so a rejection may be a simple fix but can seem very overwhelming. Avoid unnecessary rejections and confusion with our help.