Have you designed or invented something you believe is novel ?  If so, you should think of ways you can protect your idea or invention.  Patents are a great legal tool that allow people who come up with groundbreaking and innovative discoveries and inventions to keep them from being stolen, copied, or used without their permission.

What are Patents and How Do They Work?

A patent grants exclusive rights to an inventor to prevent another person or entity from making, selling, offering for sale, using, or importing into the United States that which is covered by the claimed invention as described in the patent for a limited period, i.e., 20 years from date of filing the application. A patent owner is granted a limited monopoly from the US government for such limited period of time to exclusively develop and sell of his/her patented invention.  A patent provides protection to any process, design, composition of matter, apparatus, or product that meets the three main eligibility criteria of utility, non-obviousness, and novelty.

Once you acquire a patent, you can enforce it against anyone who makes, sells, or uses your invention without your permission by filing for a patent infringement lawsuit.

Different Types of Patents

Since inventions vary from one another and fall under different categories, there are several types of patents, including:

Utility Patents

This type of patent covers machines, compositions of matter, processes, and manufactures that are novel and useful. You can receive a utility patent for enhancements made to existing machines, compositions of matter, processes, and manufactures.  Some inventions belong to more than one category, for example, computer software can be described both as a machine and process.

Plant Patent

As the name implies, this type of patent protection is for asexually reproduced plants.  To obtain a plant patent, it is essential it is made through asexual reproduction.  You cannot obtain this type of patent for genetically modified organisms.

Design Patents

For a design patent, a design can be anything that represents the surface ornamentation of an item or object. This may include the configuration or shape of that item. To get a design patent, you should establish that the design is inseparable from the respective item. However, this patent protection applies on only the design of the object, and will not be applicable on the object itself. If your invention comprises of different new and useful structural or functional features along with the design, it is recommended to apply for a utility patent.

Patent law is a very technical area of law, and understanding it can be extremely difficult for people without any formal legal knowledge and training. To determine which type of patent is right for your invention, an experienced and reliable intellectual property attorney can provide you with skilled legal counsel to help you with your case.  Contact Maldjian Law Group LLC today to schedule an initial consultation and evaluate your options.