4 Types of Patents
Patents grant property rights to inventors so that no other party may replicate an invention for unauthorized use or sale; a patent granted in the United States, however, will only be effective within the U.S. and its territories. After a patent is granted, it is up to the patentee to enforce it. This means that it’s important to know things such as each type of patent has a certain period of time for which it applies to an invention. If the filing date of a patent falls before the amendment to this time period, the old time period applies to that patent and patent term extensions or adjustments may be available under certain condition or circumstances.
Patents are overseen and issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) under the United States Government. The USPTO can currently issue four types of patents to applicants. The type of patent issued depends on the invention or item created. The different types of patents cover different inventions, are subject to different rules and requirements, and grant different specific rights. The four types of patents are as follows:
- Utility Patent: This is the patent granted when an inventor has created something that is both unique and markedly useful. This can either be a method, a machine, a way of manufacturing, matter, or some similar improvement. This patent, with a maintenance fee paid within a specific window, has a life of 20 years following the date it was issued. This type of patent may also be called a patent for invention.
- Design Patent: This is more of an artist’s patent, with the protection going to an original design that is a part of a manufactured item. The owner has the right to refuse others the right to make, use, or sell the designs. This patent lasts up to 15 years, with no maintenance fees.
- Plant Patent: This patent will be granted upon the discovery of a new plant, either invented or found. If the plant is not meant to be grown as a crop, the permit holder has the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the plant. This patent also has a 20-year life but is not subject to maintenance fees.
- Reissue Patent: If an original patent was not properly issued, this is meant to remedy the error. This will not affect the amount of time the item is protected, but may change the scope of protection.
The process of seeking and being granted a patent is complex and often intimidating. There are many requirements that applicants must meet in order for their invention to be considered for a patent. A qualified intellectual property attorney can not only help you determine which patent is right for you, but they can also guide through the application process and make sure you have all the information you need. The attorneys of the Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. are well-versed in patent rules and requirements. We can advise you on whether your invention meets the requirements of the USPTO, guide you throughout the entire patenting process, and take the stress off you. To learn more about our legal team and services, contact our office at (214) 317-4448 today.