Defining And Distinguishing "The Big 3" Patents: Utility, Design, & Plant Patents
A patent, which is a license issued by the government, gives an inventor a legal right to prevent others from using, selling or making the idea or design of the invention without explicit consent and permission.
Patents hold in a specific region (think your home country) and for a specific period of time, usually up to 20 years.
A patent confers the inventor a property right to the invention and a maintenance fee is sometimes payable.
A patent issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will only have legal ramifications within the borders and territories of the United States. Only under particular circumstances, the legal right of an invention may extend beyond the United States territories.
Patents give inventors and companies the incentive and protection to keep coming up with new and innovative ideas or products and ensure that they realize maximum profits from their invention.
There are three major kinds of patents: Utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.
To apply for a patent, you need to understand what kind of patent your invention idea classifies as - it might not be as inherent as you think. When you're ready to look into filing your patent, we can help there as well.
Forming the bulk of the patent documents issued by the USPTO, the utility patent is issued to an inventor for the invention of an original and useful idea, process, design or product.
Utility patents are largely issued for 20 year periods. In short, the utility patent protects how the invention works and how it is used. It is commonly referred to as the “patent for invention,” because it covers major classes of inventions and it notably protects the distinct way an invention operates.
Ideas which are improved upon can also fall under the utility patent category.
Utility patents legally prevent other inventors or manufacturing companies from replicating or making use of the invention or idea without prior permission of the inventor.
Before an invention can qualify to be protected by the utility patent, it must be categorized as any of the following:
Upon issuance, utility patents extends over a period of 20 years from the date of filing the patent application and the inventor is expected to pay a certain amount as maintenance fee over the period of the patent.
Design patents may also be required to protect the aesthetic values of an invention already protected by a utility patent.
Utility Patents: Costs & Fees
All patents carry fees for filing, issuance and maintenance. The fees vary by size of your company or entity. For a complete listing, visit the USPTO fee section, but this should give you the basics of what you need to know about utility patents.