Types of Patents: A Comprehensive Guide

Patents are a form of intellectual property protection that can be used to protect inventions, designs, and plants. There are three main types of patents: utility, design, and plant patents. Each type of patent has its own set of requirements and costs associated with it. In this article, we'll explore the different types of patents and how to apply for them.

A utility patent is the most common type of patent. It is issued for inventions that are novel and useful. Utility patents protect the function of a composition, machine, or process. For example, a utility patent would be used to protect a new manufacturing process for a computer (process), a new type of computer (machine), a computer part (article of manufacture), or a new chemical substance (composition of matter).

A design patent protects the decorative appearance of an item. Design patents rely more on drawings than on words. They are cheaper to obtain than utility patents, so many inventors start with them. For example, you can apply for a design patent to protect the distinctive appearance of your improved egg mixer.

A plant patent is issued to applicants for plants that can reproduce. Plant patents protect new or different varieties of plants. In addition to these three types of patents, inventors can also file a provisional patent application. A provisional patent gives inventors one more year to decide whether and how to file a utility patent.

This is just one example of how an inventor can use multiple patent applications to mitigate risk, hedge a bet, or expand patent protection. When evaluating your options, keep in mind that filing a patent has consequences. The USPTO releases utility patent applications a few months after they are filed. At that time, its application is a technique prior to all future inventions. Be sure to archive patents strategically to avoid stumbling upon your own inventions. Utility patents are among the world's most valuable assets.

Unlike other forms of intellectual property protection, they have numerous formal requirements and can be very expensive to obtain. For new inventors, obtaining a useful patent can be overwhelming. However, if you go step by step, you can also receive a patent issued for your invention. Did you know that you can file a provisional patent application to get more time to complete the patent process? Learn more about interim patents, which are used to “reserve” a spot in line for your patent application. If you still have questions about the type of patent protection you should apply for your invention, complete our invention disclosure form and send it to us for review. We'll contact you to discuss what type of patent application is best for your invention (or if you should consider filing both a utility patent application and a design patent application).The steps you take to apply for a patent depend on the type of patent you need.

Utility patents usually need more documents and information than design patents do. If you're ready to apply for a patent and understand the different types of patents, start gathering information. If you are a patent owner and are willing to create a patent license agreement, here's what you should know before you get started, both about the different types of patent licensing agreements and how to write them. You print a prototype in 3D and, in addition to the fact that it works perfectly, you realize that the remodeled spikes produce a very distinctive look.

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