What Does a Patent Protect?

What Does a Patent Protect?

After years of bouncing ideas around in your head, you finally solidify your process or product design. As such, ensuring you get your ideas patented is essential to protecting yourself and your creation. However, you may be unfamiliar with what a patent will protect. The following blog explores this further, so you’ll want to keep reading. You’ll also discover how a Bergen County, NJ patent attorney can assist you through the process of protecting your work.

What Is a Patent?

A patent is a form of intellectual property that gives the filer exclusive rights to an invention. Generally, this invention will be used to create a product or process. Unlike a trademark or copyright, a patent exclusively protects inventions. As such, you cannot patent a painting, just as you could not copyright a machine.

These exclusive rights mean that a patent cannot be made, used, sold, or imported by anyone but the patent owner unless they have explicit consent from the owner.

Generally, a patent lasts for twenty years from the date it was filed. A patent cannot be renewed when this period is over, but you will still own the product rights.

What Subject Matter Does a Patent Protect?

In order to patent something, it must be new, unique, and not already obvious. If there is nothing else exactly like it in the world, you will likely be able to patent it. However, the following inventions are legally protected when patented:

  • Machines – functional with moving parts that interact
  • Composition – a chemical combination
  • Processes – steps for doing something
  • Manufacturing – functional without moving parts

Because different types of inventions are patentable, there are different kinds of patents that exist. Most commonly, however, these would all be filed as utility patents.

It’s important to know that processes are different from methods. For example, you can patent the process of creating a machine, but you cannot patent a mathematical method you used to create the machine.

What Can’t Be Patented?

It’s essential to understand what is not covered under a patent. Aside from the creations and ideas protected by copyright and trademark law, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has decided that you cannot protect inventions that are harmful to public order, unethical, or immoral. For example, human cloning is considered immoral, so it is not patentable. Similarly, perpetual motion machines are unable to be patented due to the fact that no one can prove they will work forever.

At the Law Offices of Richard E. Novak, our dedicated legal team will work with you to help you file a patent for your creation. Unfortunately, the process of filing a patent may be confusing or hard to navigate. Similarly, you may encounter legal issues that halt the process. As such, ensuring you have an attorney to help you is essential. Contact us today to learn how we can help you through these challenging times.