What is a patent? What does it protect?

| Feb 19, 2016 | Patent Law |

If you’re an inventor and have created a new item for sale, new software or other inventions, it’s important that you get a patent. Your attorney can help you file the paperwork to get one, but why is it important? Here’s a few questions you may be asking.

What is a patent?

A patent is a right that is granted to an inventor of a product by the United States government. The patent makes it illegal for others to make or sell the invention for a certain length of time. This system has been designed to encourage inventing within society and to prevent the stealing of ideas.

What kinds of patents are there?

There are three main kinds of patents. You can get a design patent, utility patent or plant patent. A utility patent is most common, and it is granted when a new chemical, process or machine is created.

Design patents are different because they protect the appearance or design of an item. For instance, a company like Apple may have a patent on the design of an iPad or its programming layout.

The final kind of patent is a plant patent. Like its name suggests, this patent protects new inventions of plant varieties not yet in existence. The plants must be created from asexual reproduction in this case, which means it has to be made from grafting, cutting or rooting procedures.

Is it easy to get a patent?

Not always. To get a utility patent, for instance, you’ll need to prove that your invention is useful. It needs to be operational and be able to have some kind of benefit to society.

Source: FindLaw, “What is a Patent?,” accessed Feb. 19, 2016

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