Types of Patents
Types of Patents
Let’s say you’ve invented this newest and greatest product. To ensure no one steals your design or technical features of the product, you’ll want to make sure you get a patent. By patenting your product, you are given the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling your invention for a limited period. Patents are granted through the United States Patent and Trademark Office with the exception that the invention submitted is non-obvious, original, and sufficiently described in transparent terms.
There are three main types of patents: utility, design, and plant. Not all inventions are the same – and that’s why there is more than one patent option available. As the inventor of your product, you must determine which aspects of your invention you want to protect.
The utility patent is the most common patent type out of the three and targets the functionality of the invention and the way it operates. Utility patents are grouped into five categories including, process, machine, manufacture, compositions of matter, or an improvement. For a utility patent to be granted, the invention must first prove its functionality and novelty. When filling out the application for a utility patent, it is crucial that you are as detailed and thorough as possible. Although this is the most common patent, it is also the most expensive and time-consuming. In extreme cases, a utility patent can cost up to anywhere between $20,000-$30,000 by the time the process is complete, as well as take up to five years. Once your utility patent is granted, it is valid for 20 years and requires periodic maintenance fees.
Less expensive and easier to obtain, Design Patents focus on the ornamental design of an item. Examples of this could include the design of an IKEA chair, a Louboutin shoe, or even something as prominent as the Statue of Liberty. Instead of it being a long technical document like a Utility Patent, a Design Patent is made up of pictures and drawings with very minimal literature. Once granted, a Design Patent is valid for 14-15 years depending on its filing date and does not require any maintenance fees.
The least common patent out of the three is the Plant Patent. A Plant Patent is pretty much what the name describes – a patent for a plant. This type of patent is granted for any novel, non-obvious, asexually reproducible plant. This can include sports, hybrids, seedlings, mutants, and cultivation’s. A plant patent is valid for 20 years and does not require maintenance fees.
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