In order to get a patent for an original product, you must first file the appropriate application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Because this document can be very detailed and complex, it’s a good idea to have a professional with experience draft it in order to increase your chances of getting the results you want.
A patent is granted when the federal government gives the right to an inventor to stop others from making an original product. Simply put, you have the right to your own ideas and inventions, and those who copy your product may face a lawsuit if the product is patented. The United States Constitution grants the right for patents to investors, and rules and statutes by the federal government are used to control them. In order to be granted a patent, an inventor must meet several criteria set by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Different Types of Patents
Patents and trademarks are granted in three different categories:
•Utility – the most common type of patent, these are given to new chemicals, processes and machines.
•Design – given to protect the unique design or appearance of a manufactured object, or the overall design or surface ornamentation of an object.
•Plant – given for the asexual reproduction (plants that are reproduced through grafting or cuttings rather than seeds) and invention of distinct, new plant varieties, such as hybrids.
In order to be granted a patent, an invention must fall into one of these three categories. Again, a professional can help you to determine which category your product belongs in, and which is most likely to get you a patent.
Requirements for Getting a Patent
In order to be granted a patent for a product, the idea must be nonobvious and novel. Nonobvious means that the invention would be a surprising, unexpected development to an expert in the field. Novel implies that it is different from similar inventions in at least one part of the design. In order to qualify for a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office, the product cannot have been patented, sold or publicly used by any other investor within a year prior to the filing date of your application.
The invention must also be useful, and the burden falls on the inventor to prove its usefulness to consumers. There must be some type of beneficial use to consumers, and the invention must be operable before the patent application is filed. Anything that does not perform correctly or benefit consumers would not be considered for a patent.
Utility patents may be given to the following if they are considered useful by the federal government:
•A machine – a device that is powered by energy to complete work
•A process – a specific change in quality or character of a material using a new process to improve the product
•A composition of matter – a new chemical compound or a mix of ingredients
•A manufacture – an article made in a process completed by an industry of people
Any improvement on one of these devices can also be considered a useful invention that may be eligible for a patent.
While copyrights arise automatically, patents take more time to obtain. A mere suggestion or idea is not enough to get a patent. Fundamental truths, abstract principles, mathematical formulas and calculation methods are not patentable items. If the invention is an unsafe drug or a product with no legal purpose, a patent would be denied.
If a patent has been violated without permission, the patent holder may bring a lawsuit against the offender. If agreed in court, the infringer may be required to pay damages, attorney fees, and any other costs associated with the legal battle.
Filing for a patent may is a complicated process, and if you have an invention you want to be safe from copycats, you may benefit from consulting a professional. If you feel your patent has been violated, a professional can help walk you through the process of a lawsuit.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.