A patent is a right to own, use, sell, license and protect those rights, which are granted to an inventor or his/her employer for the invention or discovery of any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.
A Utility Patent protects the invention’s process and how it works. A Design Patent protects the unique ornamental features of an item.
At a very basic level, to be patentable an invention must not have been created previously (i.e. – the invention is novel) and the invention itself must be sufficiently different from what has been used or described before to a person having ordinary skill in the area of technology related to the invention (i.e. – the invention is nonobvious).
A new chemical compound may be patentable. If it fulfills certain requirements, computer software programs may be patentable. A new way of creating something (process) is patentable. A new machine is patentable, etcetera.
Once you have filed a patent application or a provisional patent application, you may use the term “Patent Pending” on your invention or design.
Usually, the process first requires a Patent Search. A Patent search can be obtained for US only or for the US and other Patent heavy territories, such as China, Japan and the European Union (or specific European nations). Once you have obtained a successful Patent Search (i.e. – it appears that your invention is unique and patentable), you would file either a Provisional Patent Application or Patent Application. By using our simple, on-line form you will be well on your way to beginning your Patent Search and Registration Process and, thereby, protecting your intellectual property rights.
Yes, you can negotiate a transfer of your rights in whatever way you choose – the patent and the underlying invention are your intellectual property. Of course, any agreement in which you relinquish rights in your intellectual property should always be carefully drafted within an appropriate writing.
A Utility Patent receives the protections of the patent laws for 20 years from the date of the application filing with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. A Design Patent receives these same protections for 14 years from the date of the application filing with the USPTO.
A patent holder cannot extend patent protection for any period of time.