The process of applying for a patent is confusing because the Patent Office gives you four different options for filing a patent application. Among the various choices, the most common question is whether you should file a design patent application or a provisional patent application. So, should you file a provisional patent application or a design patent application? You … [Read more...]
Types of Patents
The types of patents are utility patents and design patents. Utility patents protect functional features. Design patents protect aesthetic features. Utility patents are secured through the filing of a non-provisional patent application which enters the queue for examination or may initial be filed as a provisional patent application.
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A provisional patent application (PPA) is not a cheap option but it is a lower cost alternative to a non provisional patent application. The reason is that although the provisional patent application has lower minimum requirements than the nonprovisional patent application, the PPA has to disclose all of the details that the NPA must disclose. The provisional patent … [Read more...]
Design patents protect ornamental features. The scope of protection is defined by what is shown in the drawings. In contrast, utility patents protect functional features. The scope of protection is defined by the claims. This distinction is simple to state but the ramifications are significant and sometimes confusing. Inventors will sometimes suggest that we protect a … [Read more...]
Basic types of patents Three types of patents are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. 1. Utility patent; 2. Design patent; and 3. Plant patent (not discussed here). Basic differences between utility and design patents Each of these types of patents cover different aspects of an invention. Utility patents protect functional features. Design … [Read more...]
Provisional patent applications are lower cost, but not cheap Provisional patent applications are frequently misunderstood, and in my opinion, misused. Oftentimes, provisional applications are thought to be the poor man’s patent or the cheap patent. However, the provisional patent application is merely a lower cost option as best described by the United States Patent and … [Read more...]
Non Publication Requests A non publication request is a request by the patent applicant to not publish a non provisional patent application. By default, every non provisional patent application is published 18 months after the filing date of the patent application. The non publication request prevents the publication. Benefit of publication The benefit of publication … [Read more...]
Once a patent application is filed, it receives a priority date for all that it discloses and nothing more. The inventor can claim anything within the disclosure as being a part his or her invention. If the inventor wants to claim an invention that varies from the disclosure, then the claim language must be generalized so as to encompass the variation but cannot be … [Read more...]
Basis for new product line Companies may base their existing and future product lines on new products produced by their competitors. However, businesses must be careful not to infringe upon rights of others when doing so. For example, your competitor may have rights in the utilitarian features (e.g., runs faster, stays cooler, etc.) through a utility patent or the ornamental … [Read more...]