To protect various types of innovations, Congress issues several types of patents to inventors. Any creator may make greater use of the U.S. Patent Office to protect his or her invention by learning how to use each type of patent application.
What different kinds of patents are there?
In order to protect various sorts of inventions, many forms of patent applications are available. Smart innovators can use the various patent application types to obtain the legal protection they want for their ideas.
There are four distinct categories of patents:
- Utility patent. When most people think of a patent, they picture something like this. It’s a lengthy, technical manual that explains to the general public how to use a novel device, procedure, or system. Congress establishes the categories of innovations that are covered by utility patents. The limitations on what sorts of ideas may be protected by utility patents are being tested by new technologies like genetic engineering and software that is transmitted over the internet.
- Provisional patent. Under US law, inventors are able to submit a less formal paperwork that demonstrates they had the invention in their possession and understood how to make it function. The invention becomes patent-pending once that is recorded. However, the inventor will forfeit this filing date if he or she does not submit a formal utility patent within a year of submitting the provisional patent. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will now take into account any public disclosures made based on that provisional patent application.
- Design patent. This patent provides protection for an adornment on a practical object. A design patent, for instance, can safeguard the appearance of a shoe or a bottle. The majority of the actual paper is made up of images or sketches that depict the useful item’s design. Due to the fact that a design patent uses so few words, they are notoriously challenging to search. Software businesses have recently exploited design patents to protect user interface components, including the design of touchscreen devices.
- Plant patent. A plant patent does exactly what it says on the tin: it safeguards novel varieties of plants grown through cuttings or other nonsexual methods. Genetically modified species are typically not covered by plant patents, which concentrate more on conventional horticulture.
The point is to protect your invention
Make sure you carefully evaluate all forms of protection if you’re going to the trouble of writing a patent application. Four different types of patent applications are available under American law. Use them as part of your overall plan to achieve a return on your investment and to receive the correct protection for your needs and budget.