hen you are thinking of filing a patent application, you must head to the USPTO to learn more. Or, you can learn more about filing patent applications online at informative sites like Patent UFO.
As a Tech & Patent Specialist, I’ve seen quite a bit. I’ve talked to all kinds of inventors. Many solo inventors are very easily confused about the different forms of Patents available, and what they protect (or do not protect).
Patent protection actually comes in three a variety of forms. Utility Patents supply broad protection to your conventional “gadget” kind of invention, including apparatus, methods, ways of making, processes, and now even software. Plant Patents are quite only of interest to agriculturists as they protect particular strains or varieties of plants. Design Patents are worth mentioning for 2 reasons. First, Design Patents are generally utilized by fraudulent invention brokers in many Patent invention con games. Second, Design Patents tend to overlap somewhat with copyright protection. A Design Patent only covers the ornamental outward appearance of an post of manufacture and thus provides extremely narrow protection.
The following is really a brief description on the several Patent Types and what they basically protect and don’t protect. You’ll find three easy kinds of Patents: Design Patents, Utility Patents, and Plant Patents. In addition, there’s anything known as a “Provisional Patent Application” which is not a Patent, but merely a ways of holding your location in line at the Patent Office – but only for your Utility Patent Application. This post also discusses bar date difficulties and foreign filing types, for example Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and explodes the myth with the “International Patent”.
A Design Patent covers the External Ornamental Appearance of an object ONLY. It does not cover the Purpose of an invention (i.e., how it works) but rather only how it LOOKS.
Obtaining a Design Patent is one thing but easy.
There are legitimate situations wherever a Design Patent could be of value. I learned how to prepare and prosecute Design Patent Applications from at Agent who is now an in-house counsel at a large sneaker company. At the time, we each had been working for your downtown law organization and he and I prepared numerous Patents for this sneaker business on their various shoes. He was a beneficial teacher, and it was a excellent education.
Design Patents appear deceptively easy. However, they’re extremely subtle. The Specification, Claims, and Drawings are all the exact same issue – the drawings! For the novice, this appears to simplify things, but should you rely upon your draftsman to prepare the application, you could be in for a globe of woe.
Deciding what to “claim” and what to “disclaim” is part on the problem. If your Design Patent drawings include too a lot ancillary subject matter, they’re to narrow in scope. Remember that so that you can infringe, an individual need to copy all the claimed subject matter. For this reason, we usually put portions of the design in dashed lines in order to broaden the scope of protection. We try to “claim” only the key features or issues in the design, instead of the entire model being a whole.
Another component with the problem is making sure the invention is totally disclosed. All views from the object need to be provided (or disclaimed) in order to “define” the invention. Submitting plan drawings without the need of six plan views including a perspective view could trigger a “fatal” §112 rejection. The correct use of shading (and knowing as soon as not to use it) can be tricky as well.
Design Patents are quite intriguing for organizations who would like to protect the appearance of their solutions from cheap knock-off artists. For solo inventors, Design Patents could be much less useful. Unless you’re genuinely creating a product or service that may be likely to become ripped off, you are able to not require Design protection. A Design Patent is really effortless to “design around” merely by altering the ornamental appearance on the object. If you have a famous product, persons would like to copy it using a look-alike. But if you have occur up using a new Design, chances are, folks can design anything similar without having a lot difficulty.
And bear in mind that a Design Patent doesn’t cover any functional aspects of an invention! Relying upon Design Patent protection being a “cheap” type of protecting an inventive thought is short-sighted.
Design Patents are a tiny portion of my practice, and I usually discourage consumers from trying to acquire them, unless they quite particular needs tailored to Design Patent protection. For this reason too, I do not have a sample price quote for Design Patents on my site. Whilst a Design Patent can sometimes be filed for much less than $1000, it all depends upon the nature and extent from the Drawings required. As this price can vary considerably, a price quote in your Design case ought to be tailor-made for every applicant.
Another product or service worth mentioning with regard to Design Patents will be the overlap with Copyright protection. Copyright protection automatically attaches to a jobs as soon as it’s reduced to a fixed medium. Copyright applies only towards the expression of an idea, not for the underlying thought itself. Thus, whilst you may copyright a book, you cannot necessarily claim copyright to the overall story idea. Copyright is similar to Design Patent protection in that you can claim copyright for an ornamental sculpture in a similar way you possibly can claim Design Patent protection on the ornamental appearance of an write-up of manufacture. At a single time, the Patent Office required you, under the doctrine of election, to select one form of protection, but such is no longer the case.
Three differences worth noting about Design Patents: First, the term of a Design Patent is 14 many years inside date of ISSUE, instead of 20 many years during the date of FILING with utility Patents. Second, although a Design Patent can claim priority from a Utility Patent, it can not claim priority from a Provisional Application. Third, if you are filing within the USA from a foreign “Industrial Design” software package (or equivalent), the deadline for filing from the USA is SIX MONTHS from the overseas filing date (as opposed to 1 YEAR for Utility Patents.
Utility Patents are the conventional “gadget” Patents that nearly everybody is familiar with. Utility Patents are considerably much more expensive to obtain, as they require a complete description (Specification), drawings, and most importantly, CLAIMS.
The Claims of a Utility Patent describe the metes and bounds of one’s “intellectual property” and can be extremely tough to draft and prosecute, even to your skilled Agent. For this reason, it is a great concept to secure the services of the qualified Agent in preparing and prosecuting a Patent Application. A Patent with weak or narrow claims is not worth paying the trouble fee on.
Traditionally, Utility Patents had been informally broken down into 3 groups: Mechanical, Electrical, and Chemical. Having a background in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, I pretty much limit myself to Mechanical and Electrical Patent preparation and prosecution. Chemical Patent procedure has some certain features finest left to individuals who specialize in that field.
The Patent Office now officially recognizes Software and Methods of Creating Firm as Patentable subject matter as well. I have written a number of Patents in this area, for instance a single on the initial Web Ways of Creating Firm Patents (Internet Couponing).
The term of a Utility Patent is commonly 20 years within the date of filing on the first software (under the new rules, you will find nevertheless some older cases “grandfathered in” under the old rules). It is possible to file a U.S. Software program from a foreign application within 1 YEAR with the filing date of the foreign application.
Don’t just rely on random articles. Take the time to learn more about how to file patent applications online.
An inventor and patent enthusiast.
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