If you are an inventor, you seriously need the protection of the law as represented by a patent. In order to set about securing this valued protection you need to be fully aware of the type of patent that is accorded your invention. In doing this, it is important to have an appreciation of what a patent is.
What Is A Patent?
A patent is legal protection that is accorded inventions under the various categories available. Its function is to license the invention to the inventor for a set period of time with a view to restricting production, usage, importation, and selling of the invention without permission from the patent holder. Patents naturally relate to the way things work, what it is that they do, how they achieve that, their composition, and how they are made. There are patenting agencies and attorneys, such as InventHelp and InventHelp patent attorney, that help in patenting process.
What Are The Available Types Of Patents?
There are three types of patents which are:
- Utility patent
- Design patent
- Plant patent
The utility patent relates to the way an invention functions. The invention must be useful, novel and non-obvious. Protection under this option is for a period of up to 20 years. This protection attracts maintenance fees which must be paid during the subsistence of the patent to sustain it.
Design patents are concerned with the aesthetic appearance of your invention. The invention must be ornamental, non-obvious and novel. This protection is not subject to maintenance fees and the duration is for a period of 14 years.
Plant patents on the other hand, are concerned with the discovery or invention of a new and distinct plant variety capable of asexual reproduction. The duration of the protection is 20 years from the date of filing.
Types of Filing
When filing for patent protection, you can opt to go for:
A provisional application for a patent, or A non-provisional patent application
A provisional application for a patent is a temporary protection that lasts for 12 months. It does not constitute a real patent but serves as proof of filing which can be referenced against a subsequent non-provisional application. What it essentially does is to give inventors the safety that is conducive for making certain public disclosures about the invention.
Where to File
You can seek licensing within the US alone by approaching the USPTO or go for worldwide protection as provided for under the patent cooperation treaty of 1970.
As a guide on how to decide which patent you have to apply for your idea or innovation, the first step is to know the type of patent that your invention falls under. Secondly, you need to decide whether you are going for a provisional or non-provisional application. Lastly you have to decide on whether you are ok with protection in the US only or you prefer international protection. You can also learn more from this guide – how do you patent an idea with InventHelp.