Patents are a set of exclusive rights granted by a government to an inventor or assignee for a limited period in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. Patents are a form of intellectual property and give inventors and designers the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, and importing an invention or design for the term of the patent, which is usually between 15 and 20 years from the filing date.
Patent registration is the process of registering a patent with the government to protect the invention from being copied or used without the inventor’s permission. In the U.S., the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that issues patents to inventors and businesses for their inventions and trademark registration for products and services. Patent registration is often a cumbersome process because there are many steps involved, and the requirements are very specific.
A patent search is an essential first step if you’re planning to file patent registration for your product or design. The USPTO will not issue a patent for an invention that is not new and non-obvious or a design that already exists. A patent search can help you determine whether your invention meets these requirements and whether any existing patents might prevent you from being able to obtain a patent.
Conducting a patent search is relatively simple and can be done online using the USPTO’s patent search database. However, while anyone can do a patent search over the internet, one must consider three important things before signing up for such an endeavor. The first is that patent searches are not simple keyword searches. To be thorough, you need to use a variety of search terms and strategies. The second is that the USPTO website can be confusing to navigate. This is why it’s important to use a professional patent search service or hire a competent attorney who can do it for you.
The third and most important thing to keep in mind is that not all patents are easy to find. When searching for design patents that could invalidate a patent application, the USPTO and other databases have very few words of description to use. Most information regarding such patents can be buried under the drawings. This makes it necessary to do a more thorough manual search.
Types of Patent Applications
For patent registration, there are three types of patent applications that can be filed with the USPTO: provisional, non-provisional, and international.
A provisional patent application is a temporary application that gives the inventor a filing date but does not undergo a full examination by the USPTO. A provisional application must be converted to a non-provisional application within one year, or it will expire.
A non-provisional patent application is a permanent application that undergoes a full examination by the USPTO. A non-provisional application must be filed within one year of the filing date of a provisional application, or it will be considered abandoned.
An international patent application is filed with the USPTO as well as with one or more foreign patent offices. International applications are subject to the rules of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
Patent Registration: The Process in Brief
There are three types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Once you have conducted a patent search and figured out what kind of patent you need to file, only then should you go for the next step in the patent registration process, which involves filing a patent application with the USPTO.
Patent applications are complex and can be expensive to prepare and file. That’s why it is always advised to consult with a patent attorney or agent to ensure that your application meets all the requirements of the USPTO. Once you have filed your patent application, the USPTO will assign it to a patent examiner. The patent examiner will review your application to determine if it meets all the requirements for a patent.
If the patent examiner determines that your application meets all the requirements, a patent will be granted. If the patent examiner determines that your application does not meet all the requirements, a rejection will be issued.
You can respond to a rejection by amending your application or appealing the rejection to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
If you do manage to get a patent approved, you must still always remember that you have to enforce it yourself. The USPTO does not enforce patents. However, if someone infringes on your patent, you can sue them in federal court, and in some cases, you can also file a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC).
Why Hire Us?
We know the patent process can be daunting, but TBillick Law PLLC can help you with each step. Tim has experience with all aspects of patent law, from filing the initial application to enforcing your rights in court. We’ll work with you to ensure your patent application is complete and covers all the bases. We’ll also help you navigate the often-complex world of patent law, making sure you stay on the right side of the law and avoid infringing on other people’s patents.
Once your patent is granted, we’ll help you enforce it if necessary. We’ll work with you to stop infringers and get damages for any infringement that has already occurred. So if you’re ready to take your invention or design to the next level, contact us today by calling 206-494-0020 or using our convenient online form to send a message. We’ll be happy to help you protect your hard work and get the recognition and rewards you deserve.