Patent law is a component of intellectual property law and allows people to qualify for patents that they invented themselves. If you are wanting to protect your inventions from others, it can help to have some knowledge about intellectual property law, requirements for your invention before it can be a patent, and other nuances of patent law. By definition, a patent is a property right that ensures an inventor has the legal power to halt others from using, making, or selling an invention for a duration of time.
There are various types of patents, including a design patent or utility patent, among others. A utility patent is the most common type used, and serves to protect functional devices. For instance, software patents can fall under this category. By comparison, a design patent protects aesthetic or non-functional elements of a product or service. Inventors may submit an application for a provisional patent, which enables an inventor to add a “patent pending” to their invention, to warn those who may try to copy it. An inventor can say that their invention has a patent pending as long as they have filed for a regular or non-provisional patent application, even if it has yet to be approved.
Before any invention can be legally protected through a patent, it has to meet certain criteria, such as:
- The invention has to be useful
- The invention has to be novel (element of newness)
- The intention must fall into a patentable category
- The invention must be nonobvious (no one with knowledge of that kind of item would find it to be obvious)
- The invention must have enablement (the inventor must be able to describe the invention in detail to such a degree that another person could make it based on those instructions)
The entire patent process involves several steps. Firstly, the inventor fills out and submits their application. The inventor may need help with the patent application, as it requires a strict level of detail. For this reason, many inventors get help from a legal team to help reduce the chance of a patent denial or other issues.
Those who have been injured by a product or service that is patented or has yet to be approved, can benefit from contacting a personal injury lawyer that handles injury cases, such as the team at Cohen & Cohen. It’s important that inventors make sure their creation is safe and will not cause harm to the public.
The entity that examines all patent applications and grants or denies them, is the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A patent application may take years before approval, so ensuring the first application is correct and doesn’t have errors is paramount. If you receive notification that the USPTO objected or rejected your application, you can request reconsideration. If you get a second or final rejection, you can send an appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.
Inventors who have a creation they are proud of can obtain legal protection so that the invention is not unlawfully copied or reproduced by others. A patent can provide the inventors with a peace of mind that their idea is less likely to be violated. In turn, an inventor can focus their energy on the business, clients, and future goals.