Patent Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Patent?

A patent is the core legal protection for inventors and their inventions. The purpose of this protection is to provide an inventor with the necessary time and space to make, use and sell his or her invention without the threat of completion. In essence, it is the right to exclude others, for a specified time period, from simultaneously building, using or selling that particular invention the marketplace.

Reference Bold Ideas: The Inventor’s Guide to Patents, Chapter 1 for more details.

Why Should I Obtain a Patent?

A patent gives the inventor the right to stop others from making, using, selling or importing the patented good s or services without permission of the patent holder. Allowing you to retain exclusive commercial rights, which is a big deal for when you look to monetize your invention. Additionally, there is the altruistic reasoning for patents, and that is as a contribution to the world at large, participating in the advance of technology as a whole.

Reference Bold Ideas: The Inventor’s Guide to Patents, Chapter 2 for more details.

What Qualifies for a Patent?

According to the patent statute “Any person who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine manufacture, composition of matter or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent.” This gives us the four main categories of patents.

Process: A set or series of acts, in a certain order and sequence.

Machine: The apparatus itself. The sum of various physical parts that carry out a process.

Manufacture: An assembly or system of apparatuses.

Composition of Matter: The combination and mixing of substances that form a chemical union, and changing them at the atomic level.

Reference Bold Ideas: The Inventor’s Guide to Patents, Chapter 3 for more details.

What is a Patentability Search?

For a client that wants to know what patents or publications (known as prior art) are already out in the public. This helps answer the basic question of novelty: “Is my invention or improvement really new?”

A patentability search is a vital part of any IP strategy. Patent searches can help you refine your invention, complete a successful patent application, and fully protect your intellectual property. And, a professional and comprehensive patent search can help you avoid unnecessary expenses and delays. Learn more about patent searches below.

Reference Bold Ideas: The Inventor’s Guide to Patents, Chapter 8 for more details.

What is Provisional Vs. Non-Provisional?

A Provisional Patent Application serves to establish a foothold, it is a less formal cursory patent, that once accepted by the USPTO gives you one year to test, build and refine the description and claims of your Non-Provisional application.

A Non-Provisional Patent Application requires a much more in-depth and clearly defined summary of your invention, including technical drawings, Full Claims, description and more.

Reference Bold Ideas: The Inventor’s Guide to Patents, Chapter 14 for more details.

What types of Patents are there?

The three major types of Patents available are:

Utility: Structure, operation or composition of a machine, product or process. This covers the function of the invention.

Design: The Non-functional aspect of your creation, protecting the physical appearance and design.

Plant: A patent awarded for the invention or discovery of an asexually reproduced variety of plant, requiring the creation to be reproducible in a lab setting without the aid of mother nature.

Reference Bold Ideas: The Inventor’s Guide to Patents, Chapter 15 for more details.

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