The Basics Of Patent Law: A Brief (But Helpful) Guide

Posted March 9, 2022 by in Career

Intellectual property is one of the most important aspects of business, and patents are one of the most common forms of intellectual property protection. To better understand patent law in California, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of what they are and what they protect.

Here’s a brief guide to patent law that will provide you with just that:

What Do Patents Protect?

Patents protect the invention or idea that is described in the patent application. This can include a new product, process, machine, or composition of matter. The invention must be novel (not previously patented), and it must be non-obvious (not something that would be easily guessed).

They also protect the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention for at least 20 years from the date the patent application is filed. If for any reason, the patent is not granted, the protection expires after 18 months from the date of filing. On the other hand, if someone takes advantage of your granted patent, an orange county patent lawyer can help you enforce your patent rights. Not only that but patent lawyers can help you with the application process and patent searches.

How Do I Get a Patent?

To get a patent, you must file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application must include a written description of the invention, as well as drawings if necessary. You must also disclose how the invention works and how to make and use it. You can take the help of a Patent attorney as well to take care of the whole procedure.

The patent application will be examined by a patent examiner at the USPTO to make sure that it meets all of the requirements for a patent. If it does, the patent will be granted, and you will receive a patent certificate from the USPTO. If it doesn’t meet all of the requirements, the patent examiner will issue a rejection letter, which you can appeal.

However, if the examiner finds that the application meets all of the requirements, the patent will be granted automatically, and you will be notified by the USPTO.

What Types Of Patents Are There?

There are three types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. A utility patent covers the functional features of an invention, while a design patent covers the ornamental design of a product. A plant patent covers a new variety of plants, for example.

On the other hand, a petty patent is a type of utility patent that covers minor or trivial innovations. These patents last for only six months, and they can only be used in the United Kingdom.

A utility patent lasts 20 years from the date of filing, while a design patent and a plant patent last 14 years from the date of filing. However, if you file a patent application before you start making or selling the invention, the patent will last for 20 years from the date the patent is granted.

What is a Patent Search?

A patent search is a search of all public records to see if someone has already patented your invention. You can do a patent search on your own, or you can hire a patent agent or patent attorney to do it for you.

If you do a patent search on your own, you can use the USPTO’s free Patents Database or commercial patent search engines like Google Patents and Patent Owl. However, these searches are not as comprehensive as those done by patent agents or attorneys. They will have access to more comprehensive databases, and they will be able to give you a more detailed report on the search results.

It’s important to do a patent search before filing a patent application because if someone else has already patented your invention, your application will be rejected. This can be costly and time-consuming, so it’s best to avoid this by doing a patent search first.

What Can’t Be Patented?

There are a few things that can’t be patented, including laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas. In addition, you can’t patent something that was already known or used before the invention was made. Patents also can’t be granted for inventions that are immoral, offensive, or dangerous to the public.

On the other hand, you can patent a new process, a new use of a known process, or a new composition of matter.

A patent is a valuable form of intellectual property protection that can be used to protect your invention from being copied by others. If you’re thinking of filing a patent application, it’s important to do a patent search first to make sure that no one else has already patented your invention. And if you need help with the application process or with enforcing your patent, you can hire a patent agent or patent attorney.

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