If your business is not adapting quickly, it’s dying slowly. If innovative products have helped your business get to where it is, then your products will also need the occasional new feature or upgrade to keep it relevant to your customers and their needs. That’s where a utility patent comes in. It products your R&D and allows you to profit from your better mousetrap.
What is a utility patent?
A utility patent is a right to exclude others from making and selling the same functional features as your patented invention. With a granted utility patent, you’ve got the USPTO on your side if someone infringes on the mechanics of your product.
You need a utility patent when you have a functional invention – like a new method or product to make something faster, better, cheaper, easier, etc. – and when the invention is what one might call a big-money idea. A big-money idea is an idea that if successful will make the cost of a patent seem trivial.
How do utility patents differ from design patents?
A design patent differs from a utility patent in that it protects the look or appearance of a product, rather than its function. A utility patent defines and protects the function or mechanics of an invention.
Industries where utility patents are most common
Utility patents can be suitable for inventions in almost any industry. Still, utility patents tend to be most common in industries like electronics, software, medical devices, and manufacturing, to name a few examples.
How we help you get a utility patent?
Getting a utility patent is a complex process that involves conducting a patent search and filing a patent application. But to do the job righ takes much more than that. Each step of the way, there are pros and cons with each decision. We help you make decisions each step of the way. Here are other benefits of retaining us to help you get your utility patent.
- Build a strategy to protect your invention, whatever stage of development it is in
- Tell you how not to waste your money.
- Guide you through the often-confusing steps of the patent process (there are many; I wrote a whole book on it)
- Write a patent application that protects your invention and ideas to the fullest.
- Answer your questions throughout the process.
- Anticipate and adjust to twists and turns on the way to the patent protection you need
When should you get us to help with your utility patent?
It is probably time for a patent attorney once you, the inventor, have completed a few preliminary steps:
- Do an informal patent search that might include doing a Google Images search or going through the USPTO’s 7-step strategy.
- Build a prototype, if it is feasible.
- Determine whether the invention has realistic potential to be a big-money idea.
Common mistakes people make when pursuing their utility patent pro se
The most common mistake by far is that inventors’ utility patent applications do not explain the details of the invention enough. Too often, inventors gloss over the details of the invention. An effective patent application provides a detailed explanation of how to produce and how to use the invention. Most pro se patent applicants never think to do that, or they forget, or they underestimate the importance of diving deeper into the details, or they try and simply come up short.
They also tend to fail to preload the patent application with all variations, ranges, options and alternative embodiments that might give them the broadest patent protection.
Helpful resources on seeking a utility patent
Should You Get a Design Patent or a Utility Patent for Your Invention?
Steps to Take Before Spending Money on a Patent Attorney
Schedule Your Consultation
Let’s discuss your invention and goals. I am based in Orange County and work with inventors throughout the United States. You can contact me, patent attorney James Yang, at (949) 433-0900, or book a consultation here.
A utility patent will cost about $15,000 to $25,000 from start to finish.
Utility patents protect functional features. Design patents protect aesthetic or ornamental features.
Read more: Should you get a design patent or utility patent for your invention?