Patent Application Lawyer
Did you recently invent a one-of-its-kind device that has the potential of helping you earn profits? Or you developed a device that can solve a great problem and benefit humankind immensely? In either of the cases, it is highly likely that people will try and steal the credit for the invention or use the product to benefit themselves. So, how do you protect your invention and exclusively own the rights to the way it is used? The answer is by patenting your invention with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Applying and obtaining a patent requires you to go through a series of steps that you may find difficult as a layman. Hiring a patent attorney can help you save time and ensure you do not end up in a legal pickle with another party claiming to hold a patent over a similar invention.
What Is a Patent?
A patent is a property right granted by the federal government to the creator of the invention or the inventor. These rights are granted through the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Typically, patents last for 20 years from the date on which the application for obtaining a patent is filed with the USPTO. The patent bars any other party or individual except the patent owner from producing, selling, using, offering the invention for sale, or importing it into the United States. A key fact to note is that ideas cannot be patented. Patents can only protect inventions that meet a set of legal requirements and exhibit subject matter that is deemed allowable.
Types of Patents
The USPTO defines three types of patents:
- Utility Patents: As the name suggests, these patents are concerned with processes and functional aspects of products. Utility patents are granted for the discovery of novel and useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, the composition of matter, or any other improvements to an existing process.
- Design Patents: These patents are granted for the invention or discovery of novel, unique, and useful ornamental design for an article for manufacture.
- Plant Patents: Patents are also granted for discovery or creation of asexually produced distinct and novel varieties of plants.
Benefits of Filing a Patent
Other than protecting your invention from others, filing a patent can help you fulfill the following objectives:
You may have an idea and a prototype that has a utility and the potential to make millions but you might not have the capacity and the funds to manufacture and sell your invention at scale. If you have a company that values your invention and is willing to manufacture it at scale, you can patent it and enter a licensing agreement to receive royalties from the company.
Reduce or Prevent Competition
If you are an entrepreneur with a unique invention and are planning to bring your product to the market, you can use a patent to prevent or reduce competition. Patenting your invention will slow down and restrict your competitors from copying it making it easier for you to sell and market your product.
Entering and Acquiring a Share in a Highly Competitive Market
You may have found a feature to upgrade a product and earned yourself an entry into a highly competitive market. Patenting it can help you in entering the market and acquiring a share of the market.
Business and Marketing Credibility
A patent is an indirect mark of credibility that you will receive from the US government that will mark your product as unique and novel. This will provide you the credibility to market your product and create an impact on your target audience.
For the Betterment of the World
If you have an invention that has the potential to make a difference in the world and make it a better place, then you can use the patent to prevent your product from falling into the wrong hands and ensure its availability to everyone.
Legal Requirements for Filing a Patent
For an invention to be eligible for a patent, it should meet the following legal requirements:
- Subject Matter should be Patentable: The first and the most basic legal requirement that your invention needs to fulfill is that it should involve subject matter that is patentable. The subject matter considered patentable under US law are machines, processes, compositions of matter, and manufactured articles. Abstract ideas and non-functional descriptive material like music or books cannot be patented.
- Novelty: For a product or invention to be patentable, it must be new and should not have been subjected to public disclosure for more than a year before the patent application filing date. Evaluating and understanding when the invention was subject to public disclosure can be complex. Even your explanation of the invention to your friends can be considered as public disclosure. A typical rule of thumb followed by the USPTO is to deny granting patents to inventions that are already known to the public. Therefore, you get a year to file for a patent after subjecting your invention to public disclosure or selling it.
- Usefulness: The third requirement that your invention should fulfill is that it should have some utility. Your invention can pass this evidence by simply serving useful for a particular purpose. However, there are cases in which your invention can fail this low bar of utility. If you fail to find a specific purpose for your invention or fail to provide enough information to make its usefulness apparent to people belonging to the field, then your invention will fail this requirement. Secondly, if the asserted utility for your claim is not credible then your invention will be deemed not patentable.
- Non-obviousness: In addition to being new, your invention should not be similar to any of the previously registered patents. When your request for a patent will reach the examiner, they will evaluate it from the perspective of an individual working in the field. If your invention appears obvious from that perspective, your request will be rejected. Generally, the examiner will compare your invention to already registered patents of inventions similar to yours. Your request will be rejected even if it appears to be a combination of two or more already registered patents. Making simple size and material changes to already existing inventions would not qualify this requirement and the examiner will reject your patent application.
Why Hire a Patent Attorney?
Now that you have a better idea about what a patent is, you can begin the process of applying for one. However, doing it yourself can feel like an uphill climb. Hiring a patent attorney can help you steer easily through the process in the following ways:
- Patent attorneys are experts who have an intricate understanding of both technology and legal aspects. With a patent attorney by your side, you can research patents and ensure your invention meets all the legal requirements.
- Patent lawyers are well-versed with the process involved in filing and obtaining a patent. Typically, obtaining a patent takes two years. Missing deadlines or overlooking details can further lengthen this time or cause a loss of patent rights. By hiring a patent attorney, you can ensure that you file the documents on time and as required by law.
- Besides helping you file for your patent, a patent lawyer will aid you in making business decisions around your invention, signing of non-disclosure agreements, whether or not a provisional patent is good for you, timing requirements, and the relationship between publicizing your invention and filing your application.
- The responsibility of enforcing patents is yours. A patent attorney will help you find out any potential patent infringement during or after the filing of the application and will aid you in putting a stop on them.
Do you believe your invention has the potential of changing the world? Patent it before its too late. Fill in the form alongside and we will help you find the best patent attorney.