A patent is among the many different legal avenues that allow creators and inventors to protect their original works. Unlike copyright laws and trademarks, a patent is a type of protection that is especially meant for non-artistic creations and inventions. Through a legal document issued by the federal government, a patent protects a new invention from being copied and sold by another party.
Federal law delineates three different types of patents. The first one is called a plant patent, which protects different varieties of hybrid plants that were artificially produced by inventors. The next type is called a design patent, which ensures that the aesthetics and appearance of inventions and other manufactured objects remain unique and protected. The third and last type is called a utility patent, which is meant to protect any type of invention that has been created for a specific purpose. When issued any type of these three patents, an invention will be protected for 20 years. After it expires, others parties will be able to use, copy, and sell the invention on their own without legal repercussions.
According to the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., the complexity of patent laws can make the process long and taxing for small-time inventors. Most of the time, there is a wide-range of factors that need to be considered in order to know if an invention is patentable. The whole process will entail several steps that include conducting a patentability search and possibly preparing appeals to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), as well as the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
All in all, patenting an invention is an important step to help protect original creations from being copied and sold by another party. This is especially crucial for inventors in businesses that involve a lot of competition. Considering its importance, filing for a application needs to be accomplished as soon as possible and with the assistance of lawyers experienced in the nuances of patent laws.