Understanding the Different Types of Patents under the Patent Law of the US

BlogPatentTrademark    June 16, 2020
Patent Law Posted On

A patent protects the discoveries and inventions, which are novel, non-obvious, and useful. There are three types of patents under the Patent Law of the United States, namely, utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Each patent type protects a specific type of discovery or invention and has different eligibility requirements; however, it is also possible for one discovery or invention to potentially have more than one type of Patent Protection available for it. Now, let us understand this situation with an example – suppose a person invents an object, and he or she is willing to patent both the design and the functional features of that object. In this scenario, the inventor would require applying for two separate patents, both a design and utility patent.

It’s time to make ourselves familiar with the three different types of patents available under the patent law of the US and also understand how you can obtain patent protection for your discovery or invention.

  1. Utility Patents

A utility patent is undoubtedly the most common type of patent that the inventors seek. This type of patent revolves around compositions of matter, processes, manufactures, and machines that are useful, novel, and non-obvious. Inventors and innovators can also obtain a utility patent for useful and new improvements to the already existing compositions of matter, processes, manufactures, and machines. Compositions of matter refer to the chemical compositions that include a mixture of ingredients or new chemical compounds. Processes can be any acts or different methods of doing something, and they usually involve technical or industrial processes. Manufactures refer to the products or goods that are made or manufactured. Machines include all the things are typically defined as a machine across the globe.

  1. Design Patents

A design in legal terms refers to the surface ornamentation of an object, which can include the configuration or shape of an object. For obtaining design patent protection, the inventors or innovators need to ensure that the design is inseparable from the object. Although the design and the object need to be inseparable, a design patent only protects the appearance of the object. If a person is willing to protect the structural or functional features of an object, he or she must file a Patent Application for a utility patent as well.

  1. Plant Patents

The inventors and innovators can obtain patent protection for their new and distinctive plants. For obtaining this type of patent protection, there are a few requirements, which are as follows:

  • The plant can’t be a tuber propagated plant, i.e., an Irish potato
  • The plant can be asexually produced
  • The plant can’t be found in an uncultivated state

In asexual reproduction, the plant is reproduced by cutting or grafting the plant, instead of being reproduced with a seed. The reason why plant patents require asexual reproduction is that the same works as proof that a patent applicant is capable of reproducing the plant.

How can you Obtain Patent Protection in the US?

In the US, patent protection can be obtained by filing a patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), irrespective of the type of patent that you are seeking. There are both the options of provisional and non-provisional patent applications available for the patent owners.

A patent applicant can file a provisional patent application if he or she needs more time to determine the specifics of his or her invention while protecting it from being patented by another person. The patent applicant who files a provisional patent application has a span of one year from the date of filing the patent application to file the corresponding non-provisional patent application.

The non-provisional patent application begins the official examination phase for the USPTO to decide whether a discovery or invention is eligible to obtain patent protection or not. Although the information included in a patent application depends on the type of invention; in general, every non-provisional patent application must include a claim and description of the discovery or invention, an oath or declaration, drawings, and the required fee. An inventor or innovator can also file an international patent application as per the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). For more visit: https://www.kashishipr.com/ 

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