What do I Need to Know About Patents?


What do I Need to Know About Patents?

People come up with innovative ideas every day. Some of which have the potential to change the world, just like others have in the past. It is because of this that those who have ideas for a unique and useful invention should take the necessary steps to protect it from falling in the wrong hands. This can be done with a patent to ensure that no one else can use the idea or invention that they came up with. Obtaining a patent can seem like a daunting process, which is why it is important to educate yourself on the details and retain the services of an experienced New Jersey patent attorney for guidance.

What is a Patent?

In essence, a patent is a contract between an inventor and the government that allows them the property rights to their invention. This is done to make sure that no one else can exploit the idea or use it for their benefit by making, using, or selling it without the permission of the inventor. These rights are given for a period of 20 years from the filing date of the application. 

There are three types of patents that are available for inventors in the United States. This can include utility patents to protect the usefulness of the invention, design patents for its decorative feature or aesthetic value, and plant patents for plants that are asexually produced and newly discovered. 

What is the Process of Obtaining a Patent?

It is important to know the process of receiving a patent can be long. This begins with the novelty search to find out if the invention has already been patented, if there is a limit to the protection, and where the idea fits in the world. Once this is done, an application can be filled out and submitted. This step of the process is considered “patent pending.” During this time, the United States Patent Office assesses the application to see if it should be granted approval. If the application for the patent is approved, the inventor is required to pay insurance fees in addition to maintenance fees to ensure their rights over the years.

What is Patentable?

When considering if you should patent your idea, it is important to know that there are certain things that can and cannot be patentable. The three types of patents (utility, design, and plant) cover what can be protected by law. While design and plant products can be more straightforward, the definition of utility patents can seem complicated as it covers more ground. Some ideas that are patentable under this can include machinery, processes, man-made products, the composition of matter, and methods. 

However, there are some exceptions to what is patentable in the United States. Ideas that are obvious, abstract, laws of nature, and natural phenomena are unable to be patented. Individuals who are unsure if their invention can be patented should file a provisional application before sharing their idea with anyone. In addition to this, they can contact an experienced patent attorney for assistance in understanding their options.

Contact our Firm

The Law Offices of Richard E. Novak, LLC has over 25 years of experience helping clients through tough times when they need it most. If you need assistance with any intellectual property, traffic violations, or business law matters, our firm is here to help. It is critical that you pick the right attorney who can protect your rights. Contact The Law Offices of Richard E. Novak, LLC for a consultation.