You have invested your time and expertise and believe you have a unique invention that will benefit those who use it. Before you rush to production and marketing, remember that a patent will protect your invention from others copying it.
However, a patent requires more work than just asking for one. You must consider the different types of patents and various applications. If the information required by the patent office is not complete, you will be turned down. For expert advice concerning your unique invention, consult a Georgia patent attorney. The experienced lawyers at Sparks Law are here to help you achieve your business goals by protecting your intellectual property.
The main types of patents include utility, design, and plant patents. Software patents protect computer processes and results, but these patents have vaguer USPTO requirements than the other three types. Anyone seeking a patent in Georgia should consult with our seasoned attorneys on which type to apply for.
Utility patents are granted to protect how an item or process functions. For instance, Peter Cooper received a utility patent in 1845 for powdered gelatin. He sold the patent in 1897 to Pearle Waite, who prepackaged gelatin with flavors and sugar and sold it under the name Jell-O, which he trademarked with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
A trademark is an identifying mark or slogan. Thus, intellectual property can be protected by more than one patent. If an invention is released into the marketplace, the inventor has one year to apply for a patent or lose that right. The USPTO can grant a provisional patent, allowing the inventor twelve additional months to file a regular patent application (RPA). A provisional patented product is usually marked patent pending.
Design patents protect a product’s looks, but the product (or process) must be unique and valuable in the marketplace. Something that looks unique, such as a watercolor painting, cannot be patented because it is not helpful to consumers. In this case, a painting would be copyrighted, giving the owner the right to control the reproduction of literary and artistic material.
The USPTO grants plant patents for plants that are newly discovered or have never existed before. Only the owner of the plant patent can breed it. The new plant species must reproduce asexually.
Utility and plant patents exist for 20 years. Design patents exist for 14 years. An experienced patent lawyer in Georgia can help determine if an invention or design is patentable.
A local intellectual property lawyer will perform due diligence before filing for a client’s patent. This is the process of gathering required evidence and information for the patent examiner and performing a patent assessment to determine if the invention, design, or plant is patentable.
A critical part of due diligence is a prior art search, also known as a patent search. More than one hundred patent application databanks can be searched worldwide to determine if any other patents have been issued for a similar or identical invention to the one that is the subject of the due diligence.
A Georgia patent lawyer will also:
The type of patent will determine what information the USPTO requires. A skilled patent lawyer in the area can guide an inventor through the process.
If you are an inventor or have discovered a new plant species, you should consider applying for a patent to protect your work with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Commerce can be cutthroat, and you need proof of your invention so it can be defended if someone pirates your work.
Fortunately, you do not have to navigate this government process by yourself. Let a Georgia patent attorney represent you and work with a USPTO agent on your behalf. Call Sparks Law today to schedule your initial consultation.