What Exactly Are Patents And Which One Should You Get For Your Invention?

4 November 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


You have a great new idea for a product or perhaps an idea to improve an existing one. You don't want anyone else to steal your idea before you have had the chance to research and design it and bring it to fruition. This is where a patent will come in handy. What exactly are patents and which one should you get for your invention?

What Is a Patent?

A patent is a grant given by the United States government to an inventor or company for the sole purpose of designing and researching new ideas in which to turn into products, machinery or even to develop new plants and flowers. This grant is a monopoly on the research and development period for a limited time only and this period will vary depending on what patent is given. The idea behind patents was to let the inventor or creator of the item get the benefits of the research and development of the item before any other company got involved and potentially improved upon the original idea.

The Types of Patents

Utility Patent: A utility patent is considered a catch-all type of patent by the government and this includes any and all completely new inventions, improvements on existing inventions or ideas, machinery, process, manufacture and novel ideas.

Design Patent: A design patent is a new and original idea of either a product or how a product was manufactured, for example, a new bottle design or music player design. This is the most common of the patents among inventors.

Plant Patent: A plant patent is actually the least used of the patents and is solely for the purpose of the design of new and different plants and flowers. This is typically by using different breeding procedures – both asexually and sexually that are new and novel.

How Long Do Patents Last?

Patents don't last forever and in fact, have an expiration date. Depending on which patent you are getting, it will determine the length of time you have exclusivity to the idea. For example, if you have an idea for a new plant or need a utility patent, the period will expire in 20 years after the application date. For a design patent, you have a period of 14 years after you have received the patent.

You can only obtain a patent if the invention or idea is a new one and not already patented by someone else, or has a patent in another country. For assistance, talk to a professional like Lingbeck Law Office.