In the past, the United States had a “first to invent” system when it comes to patent protection. In September of 2011, however, the government switched to a “first to file” system. This is why it is paramount that you file a patent application in a timely manner to lend legal intellectual property protection for your invention from copycats. Inventors who fail to file a patent for their intellectual property will have a hard time proving that their inventions were original.
Applying for a Patent
If you created a genuine innovation, you should be its patent holder, so make the effort to apply for a utility patent, design patent, plant patent or some other form of patent protection. Filing a patent application on an innovative creation is a more complex process than registering the copyright for artistic work. To obtain patent rights on your invention, it must meet patentability requirements.
- Novelty – Under US patent law, your invention is considered novel if you were the first to invent it. To find out if it is, in fact, novel, search for “prior art” on the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. This refers to patents issued previously or published patent applications. The patent search is actually best done throughout the Internet.
- Usefulness – For your invention to be patentable, it must have a useful purpose.
- Non-obviousness – This means that your invention wouldn’t be considered obvious with respect to the prior art by a general person in the field of your invention.
To apply for patent protection, an inventor must file an application with the Patent Office. This must include a detailed description of the invention with drawings, diagrams, graphs, and charts that are necessary to permit those skilled in the art to use the invention when the United States patent expires.
Patent information must include everything that is necessary for a manufacturer to build a working prototype, including proposed claims describing the extent of the invention. The inventors may get this done themselves, but the services of patent attorneys are invaluable in guaranteeing the proper filing of a complete patent application. A lawyer specializing in US patent laws will also be immensely helpful in responding to follow-up queries or even objections from the US PTO. The patent process could take anywhere from several months to several years.
The patent offices regularly publish a copy of new patent applications around 18 months after their application is filed. If the application is allowed, a patent covering the invention will be granted by the United States patent office. Until the patent is granted by the USPTO, the invention has a “patent pending” status. Generally, this is enough to put the threat of a patent infringement charge in the minds of potential infringing copycats.
For Patenting Concerns, Contact an Intellectual Property Law Attorney Today!
If you want to apply for a patent, it behooves you to engage the services of an IP rights attorney. You will receive guidance in your application to ensure IP protection for your innovation and to guarantee your intellectual property rights. In case your patent is infringed, you will also get invaluable legal advice regarding patent litigation or patent prosecution.
As the creator of a valuable innovation, you should be the patent owner and bear exclusive rights to its authorship and economic potential. For legal assistance in dealing with the patent trademark office and other patent-related matters, call us at War IP Law and speak with an experienced patent lawyer.