Protecting your invention from others who might exploit it to make money is a detailed process that requires patience and proof. You must apply to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and supply critical information based on your due diligence of similar inventions and proof that your creation is useful and unique.
Filing the wrong application or for the wrong type of patent will cost you time and money when the USPTO turns you down. If your application is based on how your invention functions, you should consult a Georgia utility patent lawyer. At Sparks Law, our knowledgeable attorneys can discuss the necessary steps to get a patented product to market.
Inventors often make the mistake of applying for the wrong patent. The four general types of patents include the following:
An early step toward being granted a patent includes deciding which one applies to an invention. Inventions can be covered by more than one patent because only one claim can be patented at a time. Thus, an invention that features several unique processes might be covered by as many utility patents.
One invention can also be granted utility and design patents. For instance, Apple in 2012 applied for 55 patents, both utility and design, for its modern iMac. All the patents were approved in 2018. A knowledgeable attorney could assess an invention to determine what patents might be applicable and guide the inventor through the patent process in Georgia.
Utility patents, granted for unique functionality, are the most popular type the USPTO grants. Apple’s modern iMac patents include utility patents for the manufacturing processes used in casting and molding raw materials and its rapid manufacturing technique. The two types of utility patents are provisional and non-provisional.
Provisional patent applications are not subject to a USPTO examination and do not require many of the formal submissions attached to non-provisional patent applications. The advantages include lower cost and a more straightforward process to get protection for an invention, since no disclosure statements, drawings, claims, or declarations must be submitted.
However, a provisional application is only valid for twelve months, at which time the inventor must file for a non-provisional patent or forever lose the right to patent an invention.
A provisional patent application accompanied by appropriate technical descriptions and figures will allow the inventor to advertise the invention as ‘patent pending.’ It also gives the inventor an application priority date, which is maintained after conversion to a non-provisional filing. This is helpful because the USPTO may take years to approve a patent. The sooner the inventor begins the process with an experienced Georgia lawyer, the sooner the product will be patented.
Non-provisional patent applications, also called regular patent applications (RPA), are inventors’ goals. The USPTO examines the invention based on the required submissions (including a specification, drawings, and figures), as well as at least one claim. The specification and drawings illustrate the claims, which detail what the invention is and what it does. The inventor’s filing fee covers twenty claims, three of which can be independent of any other claim.
To further complicate the process, there are several versions of the non-provisional patent application. A divisional application depends on whether more than one invention is the patent subject. Continuation applications are for new claims about the subject invention, and partial continuation applications are for new drawings or descriptions attaching to the subject invention. Because of the complexity in applying for a utility patent in Georgia, an intellectual property attorney should work with the USPTO examiner.
If you have invented a unique product that has value in the marketplace, you want the ability to profit from your invention. If you wish to protect your hard work, you should consider a utility patent.
Your skill is inventing useful products. At Sparks Law, our skill is in protecting what you invent. Call for your initial consultation with a Georgia utility patent lawyer today and learn how we can serve your needs.