Patents come in multiple forms. If you want a successful patent application, you need to choose the right type. Before you apply for protection from the US Patent Office, you should know about the four basic types of patents. Then, you can be certain to apply for the type that works best with your product.

Here at the Patent Professor, we know that the various patent types can be confusing. However, you don’t need to be left in the dark. By working with us, you can get answers to all of your questions about patent law. Furthermore, you can get assistance with the application process. Our firm is ready to help you get protection for your invention.

Utility Patent

The first and most common type of patent is a utility patent. As with other types of patents, this type is a lengthy document that protects your idea. These patents are unique in that they go into great detail regarding the use of your new idea. With your patent, you have exclusive rights to your idea.

Your idea could be in the form of a machine, product, process, or system. However, not every idea is eligible for a patent. It must meet Congress’ definition. As technology changes, that definition changes. Today, you can get patents for technology, such as new software and new genetic engineering methods.

Once you have a utility patent, no one else can use your idea without permission. Although you can grant licensing rights, no individual can profit from your idea without your permission to do so. The only exception is if you sell your patent. By selling your patent, you give up all of your rights to the idea. You lose the right to make a profit from your invention.

Provisional Patent Versus Non-Provisional Patent

If you want to apply for a utility patent, you have two options. The first option is a provisional patent. When you file this type of patent application, you don’t get full patent protection. Instead, you get patent pending. Although patent pending could dissuade others from making your invention, it doesn’t have any legal ramifications. You can’t sue them for making or selling your invention.

However, a provisional patent does give you an advantage. It proves that you were the original creator of the invention. Furthermore, it gives you a headstart. If someone does make your invention, but you are granted the full patent, you can sue them in court.

Provisional patent applications are much less detailed than non-provisional ones. If you don’t have the specifics of your invention ready, a provisional patent affords you some level of protection. It also gives you time to save up for the cost of acquiring a non-provisional patent.

You only have one year from when you file the provisional patent to file for the full one. If you fail to meet the deadline, you lose your rights. Anything on your original patent application becomes a public disclosure to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The application for a non-provisional patent requires much more information. If you don’t have the basics of your invention already determined, you need to figure them out before filing. Although you don’t need a manufactured product to file for a patent, you do need detailed artwork and a complete explanation of your invention.

On the non-provisional patent application, you must include details about how individuals would use your invention. The explanation needs to be simple enough for a non-mechanically inclined individual to understand. Furthermore, your application needs to show how the invention is an improvement upon current methods or products.

Design Patent

If you don’t need a utility patent, you might need a design patent. This is one of the patent types that’s less common. It only protects an ornamental design on a practical item, and does not protect the item itself. For instance, you might invent a running shoe with a unique structure. Although you can’t get a utility patent for the whole product, you can get a design patent to protect the design of the shoe.

The software industry also relies on design patents. There are many design patents in place that protect the interface designs of various product. Even touchscreen devices can have design patents that keep their appearance unique. Many of the inventions in Florida would also qualify for this type of patent.

The document for the design patent is much less wordy than a utility patent. In the document, you can find a great deal of artwork. It can be difficult to describe a design in words. For that reason, inventors must use pictures or drawings to depict the design.

Although the application for this is simpler than a utility patent, searching through previous patents can be extremely challenging. When searching through utility patents, you can look for keywords. But searching through design patents requires you to look at image after image. Without help, the search can take months.

Here at the Patent Professor, we can assist you. We make it easier to search through patents, and we make it simpler to file your application. Our firm is ready to handle your patent needs.

Plant Patent

This type of patent is a little unusual. It is only applicable for new plant species that come from making cuttings or other forms of asexual reproduction. Typically, plant patents do not include genetically modified organisms. They relate only to horticulture and more traditional methods of plant reproduction.

If you have a plant patent, no one else can use your technique to produce the plant. This could be a major advantage to you. Before you decide to file for this type of patent, you should consult with a patent lawyer to determine whether or not your invention is eligible for a plant patent.

Choosing the Right Patent Types

The success of your patent application depends on choosing the right patent type. For example, if you apply for a non-provisional utility patent before your invention is ready, you will not receive your patent. Similarly, a plant patent application for a genetically modified organism will likely face denial.

There’s another reason to choose the right type of patent. If you choose the wrong type, you risk losing your invention. For example, you might apply for a design patent for your invention. But that patent will only protect your design. If you want to protect the full invention, you need a utility patent.

Picking the right type of patent can also improve your invention. This relates specifically to provisional and non-provisional patents. If you apply for a provisional patent too early in the design process, you’re stuck with that design. But with a non-provisional patent, you have the time to explore. You might find an even better design or method for your invention. Once you finalize the invention, you can apply for a patent for the improved product.

If you want to make the right choice, you need to consider all of the details. Follow these tips to ensure that you apply for the right type of patent.

1. Think About the Protection You Need

Before you apply for a patent, consider the type of protection you need. Do you still have some details to work out? If so, you should consider a provisional patent. Do you only want to protect the specific design of your product? In this case, a design patent is the way to go.

The reason for getting a patent is to protect your invention. If the type of patent you choose does not give you full protection, then you should rethink applying for it.

2. Avoid Choosing Before You Have the Basics Figured Out

You already know that a provisional patent can give you time to refine your invention. However, you still need to have the bare bones of your invention determined. If you apply for a patent too early, you could end up applying for the wrong type of patent.

For example, you might come up with a great idea and immediately file for a utility patent. But as you test out your idea, you could find out that there is a flaw with your design. It would be too late to make changes to your patent. As a result, you waste your time and money on filing a patent that you will not need.

Although you should file for a patent as soon as possible, you shouldn’t rush it. Think through the design and other elements. After you’ve done that, you can think about which type of patent would work best. This can prevent you from filing for the wrong patent and leaving your work without protection.

3. Consider Your Budget

Unfortunately, filing a patent application isn’t cheap. Before you decide to go through with the process, you should consider your budget. If you don’t have enough money for a full patent, you could apply for a provisional patent. You’ll have an extra year to save up money for the patent.

The median household income in Florida is only $52,594. You might not be able to spare the money for the application now, but maybe you can by the end of the year.

Although patents can be expensive, they can also save you money. By keeping competitors away from your invention, you can make more money. Once your invention is ready for stores, you will be the only one who can make a profit.

4. Work with a Lawyer

If you’re confused about the patent types, a lawyer can help. There are many challenges that come with applying for a patent, and choosing the right type is only one of the difficulties. The Patent Professor can help you navigate the process.

When you decide to work with us, we take the time to learn about you and your invention. However, we also want to learn about your goals. Only after we learn about your wants do we advise you on your patent application.

A lawyer can prevent you from making a crucial mistake during the application process. In addition to helping you choose the right patent, we can also assist you with the filing process. Our team has years of experience handling patent applications. We know what it takes to get great results.

In 2010, there were 353.4 people per square mile in Florida. With so many people in the city, there’s a lot of competition for new inventions. A lawyer can work with you to keep that competition away from your invention.

The Patent Process

Once you choose the right type of patent, you can start on the paperwork. Each type of patent requires a different application. If you’re filing for a utility patent, you have your work cut out for you. The application must be very thorough, or you risk denial.

All patent applications come from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. However, you need to be certain to choose the application specific to the type of patent you want. Once you have the application, you must fill it out in a way that meets the patent office’s requirements.

Typically, non-provisional patent applications require both a description of the invention as well as a claim of invention or discovery. It also requires drawings of the invention along with the application fees.

When you submit your application, the patent office reviews it. But this process is not often quick. In fact, you could wait years to receive a patent for your invention. The timing varies greatly and depends on the backlog at the patent office.

Getting the Help You Need

All of the types of patents have the same goal – protecting your invention. Although they all do it in different ways, they protect your inventions from other people selling them. A patent could be the difference between your invention’s success or failure.

Patents are extremely technical, which makes patent law difficult to understand. If you plan on obtaining a patent, you deserve assistance from a professional who has experience in the industry. For years, our law firm has focused on patent law. The Patent Professor has seen first-hand the importance of acquiring a patent. And we do our best to get you through the process with good results.

Whether you need help choosing the right type of patent or filing your application, our firm can help you. We don’t treat you like another number. Rather, we treat you like the unique inventor you are.

Today, job growth in Florida is on the rise. There’s some stiff competition out there for inventors. If you’re ready to file for a patent, contact us at the Patent Professor. The sooner you contact us, the sooner you can be on your way to acquiring a patent.