Understanding the basics of patents

Successfully securing a patent can be important to your business or simply to your idea. In general, a patent is when the government grants a property right, which prevents others from selling, using or making a particular invention for a certain period of time. Patents protect certain types of intellectual property. Part of the patent process includes a public disclosure of the invention being patented.

Patents may be applied for by the actual inventor but it is important to first understand what can be patented. Generally, patents are granted for inventions that are both useful and nonobvious. There are three kinds of patents, including utility patents, plant patents and design patents. A non-obvious, new and useful machine, process, composition, article of manufacture, or matter or improvement on any of the preceding four categories may be granted a patent. Additionally, ornamental design on an article of manufacture or certain plant varieties based on a design or plant patent may also enjoy patent protection.

Certain categories cannot be patented, including physical phenomena, laws of nature and abstract ideas. Inventions that are offensive to public morality or are not useful, will also not receive patent protection. Artistic works, such as literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, receive copyright protection rather than patent protection.

The process of applying for, and securing, a patent can sometimes be complex. To receive a patent, the invention must be presented by the inventor in the patent application in clear and definitive terms, adequately described and of use to one of ordinary skill in the art. Inventions must also be novel to receive patent protection. In general, utility and plant patents are in force for 20 years and design patents are in force for 14 years, although maintenance fees may apply in certain situations.

To determine if an invention is patentable, a thorough patentability search of already patented inventions should be conducted. As it is useful to have a patent application strategy, a patent search strategy may also be helpful. While securing a patent can be important, it can also be a complex process which is why a thorough knowledge, familiarity and understanding of the process, and terminology, are important for any individual seeking a patent.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office, "Patents," accessed on Jan. 20, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Hear From Our Clients

Mr. Skolnik and Mr. Gaboury have represented me on multiple cases over the past two years. They are dependable, knowledgeable, and professional. They provided high quality legal guidance for my small business during a difficult time and brought me a peace of mind. I highly recommend Cox Padmore Skolnik & Shakarchy as your legal business representative. -Anonymous

Read More Reviews

Contact Us

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Tap To Request An Exploratory Consultation

New York Office
630 Third Avenue
19th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Phone: 646-355-1648
New York Office Map

Great Neck Office
98 Cutter Mill Road
Suite 310N
Great Neck, NY 11021

Phone: 646-355-1648
Great Neck Office Map

Hackensack Office
27 Warren Street
Suite 304
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Phone: 646-355-1648
Hackensack Office Map

Denver Office
1060 Humboldt Street
Denver, CO 80218

Phone: 646-355-1648
Denver Office Map