Applying for a Patent -The Ins and Outs of Intellectual Property

June 23, 2015 9:16 pm, Published by



Examples of intellectual property can be found everywhere. Music, literature, movies, inventions, games, patents, copyright, industrial design rights, and much more is covered under intellectual property law. Infringement is constituted by an intentional or unintentional emulation, close approximation, or downright theft and reuse of someone else’s invention or product.

To have your intellectual property truly protected, depends on the nature of the property, invention, or art you wish to protect. There is no one-best type of protection and each type of protection; whether copyright, trademark, patent, or trade secret; offers its own advantages. For inventions or designs that cannot be kept secret from the public, a patent issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office is the usually the best way to go. The process for patenting an invention is quite simple with the right guidance.

You must first determine if your invention has already been patented. A complete search of the Patent Full-Text and Full-Page Image Databases will give you a good idea if someone else already has intellectual property rights on something similar or identical to your invention. You can search patents at the website or even Google offers its own patent search tools.

The next step is applying for a patent from the USPTO. What type of application are you filing? There are three types; Design Patents are for something with an ornamental characteristic that sets it apart from other similar items; a Plant Patent would apply to a new type of asexually reproduced plant; the most common is a Utility Patent which applies to devices that provide a useful process, is a unique machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter..

When filing in the U.S., there is a potential for international intellectual property theft. This is why China gets away with so many knock-offs that are sometimes superior, sometimes not so much. For international protection, the Office of International Patent Cooperation was established as part of the USPTO to assist inventors with navigating the myriad of treaties amongst the many nations of the world and meeting the demands of filing for patent protection throughout the world.

There are two ways to begin the patent application process in the US—filing either a provisional or non-provisional application. A Provisional Application is a simple and inexpensive way to begin protecting your invention while you fully flesh it out, decide whether to pursue a full patent application, and do any market testing you may need. Much care needs to be taken that you incorporate enough information about your invention within the provisional application to ensure the greatest amount of protection when it is time to file the Non-Provisional application. A Non-Provisional Patent Application is the actual, bona-fide application.

Inventing something can be very exciting, but you can also jeopardize your application for patent protection by disclosing your invention without a confidentiality agreement. Using a registered Attorney or Agent is strongly recommended when choosing to file a patent. This will expedite the process, and curb errors in the application process.

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