FAQ: 5 Key Things You Need To Know About Patent Law

With around 600,000 patents filed each year in the United States the popularity of patents continues to grow for inventors nd others seeking to protect their ideas, but the fact is that many people are ignorant of the requirements of patent law and many patent applications fail to succeed with registration.

In fact, over half the patents filed fail to succeed, which provides a potentially daunting picture for those seeking to register their patent, unless they undertake some basic preparation that will ensure success in their filing.

It may seem relatively simple – after all, read the requirements set forth in the US Patent Act (Section 101)

Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvements thereof, may obtain a patent, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.

In reality, there are specific requirements required for a successful patent application.

Big Patent Law Changes This Year

2022 could see some major changes to patent law, an area of considerable complexity and interest, as the US Supreme Court handles a case over patent eligibility and with major changes to the US Patent and trade Mark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

The patent eligibility question relates to a case (American Axle & Manufacturing Inc v. Neapco)  as to whether an invention can be patented and involving a split decision at the Federal Circuit, requiring the US Supreme Court to decide.

There is also the likelihood that Congress could become involved to help clarify the patent eligibility question.

So what are the patent types and what are key pointers anyone involved needs to know.

Different Patent Types

So what do you need to know before filing for a patent under US law.

Here are 5 key pointers you should know before filing your patent.

1. Patent Application Requirements

Like any application, you must meet certain requirements for your patent application to be approved. You must either file the application or have your attorney do so on your behalf. Make sure you and your attorney thoroughly review the current patent database to ensure your invention is truly unique and include as much detail as possible in your application.

Once you submit it, you’ll need to wait to hear back from the USPTO regarding approval or rejection. If your patent application is rejected, then you do have the right to request reconsideration.

If you want to protect your intellectual property, you need to consult with experts in relevant types of law, such as patent and copyright law.

2. The Need for an Attorney

The complexities of patent law require expert assistance and those experienced in this area should consult a local patent attorney to ensure they comply with the requirements.  In New York, where this firm operates as  patent lawyer NY, there is expertise in handling patent applications although patent law is governed by federal, not state law.

Nevertheless, there may be different State procedural requirements and any application can only be submitted by you or your attorney, provided the attorney is licensed to practice by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Your lawyer will also have sufficient experience and knowledge to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

 

3. Types of Patents

There are two main types of patents: design and utility with a lesser known patent area for plant patents.

Design – Design patents relate to product appearance, as distinct from utility patents (below) which relate to the manner in which software or a machine etc operates.

So they protect items we are all familiar with like the Apple iPhone, the Coca Cola brand, NIKE footwear and so forth.

They are increasingly popular and unlike other patents do not require an annual maintenance fee.  A design patent is granted for fifteen years total and is based on the uniqueness and originality of an object or invention’s design. The application process can be relatively loose and unrestricted. The more restrictive process of approving utility patent requests is due to the rigidity of its purpose. It’s meant to protect the structure and functionality of a process, composition or invention.

Utility – Utility patents, which are sometimes called utility patents, relate to machine or device operations and their enforceability runs up to 20 years from the filing date, with maintenance fees required to be paid.  The utility patents relate to a variety of categories, ranging from business processes and machine componentry to computer software, pharmaceutical compounds and business methods.

So there are a very wide range of applications for patents in this area with some, like business methods, continuing to grow in importance with the development of ecommerce tools and popularity, along with the overall explosion in online shopping and business.

Plants – this is a very specialized and small but significant area of patent law covering reproduced plants.

4. Differences from Other Intellectual Property Laws

While a patent is a method of protecting intellectual property (IP), it’s different from other types. Patents are generally granted for inventions, compositions such as medicines and certain types of processes. By contrast, copyrights are meant to protect creative works such as books and art and trademarks are meant for short content such as logos, slogans and names. Because each method protects different types of IP, each has differences in application, approval and implementation. For example, both patents and copyrights grant applicants limited monopolies over their IPs, but a copyright extends seventy years after the holder dies.

5. Patent Holder Rights

No matter which type of patent you apply for, it will grant you two rights regarding your IP. You will be within your rights to sue anyone who infringes on your patent and to exclude. In patent law, exclusion refers to preventing people from selling, producing or using your IP if you don’t want them to. Remember that exclusion only gives you rights to prevention, not the right to produce or sell it yourself.

Source:  Tattoneti IP

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