Patent Resources

What Are Patents Used For?

A patent is a useful tool issued by the USPTO. Once a patent is granted, it gives the patent owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, importing, or otherwise benefitting from your unique and novel invention.

It’s important to note that patent protection provides the right to exclude, which means the person or business holding the patent has the right to seek patent enforcement when they believe patent infringement has occurred. The USPTO is not an enforcement agency, but rather a mechanism for granting the rights of patent protection to the patent holders. If the process of seeking patent protection isn’t performed correctly, the patent obtained might not adequately protect the invention.

What Do Patents Protect?

Patentable subject matter is extremely broad and diverse. Patents can be granted for articles of manufacture, processes, machines, and compositions of matter. In more general terms, those categories often encompass new products, services, business methods, software, and materials. The process for achieving lasting patent protection involves both legal and technical expertise.

There are three different types of patents that may apply to your unique situation including:

  • Utility Patents: Covering the utility, or use, of an invention, as well as the various elements of the device or system itself, utility patents are very effective for providing all-around protection. Utility patents last for up to 20 years and require periodic maintenance fees.

  • Design Patents: Design patents apply to the new and original design or aesthetics of an invention. Since they will typically only protect the design of an object, they are generally less expensive to obtain than a utility patent. Design patents last for 15 years from the patent issue date and do not require maintenance fees.

  • Plant Patents: While utility and design patents are most common, plant patents are available for those who invent new varieties of plants that are capable of asexually reproducing. However, while plant patents are less frequently sought after, they can be very valuable assets. Plant patents last for 20 years and do not require maintenance fees.

Knowing how best to utilize the laws governing the USPTO’s process, our patent attorneys and agents work diligently to obtain the most advantageous protection possible.

Patent Frequently Asked Questions 

  • What type of protection should we seek? 

  • Is the concept patentable?

  • Does the patent already exist? 

  • What type of patent is best?

  • Are we ready to file for the patent? 

  • Submitting a patent application?

  • What is patent infringement? 

  • How does patent infringement work? 

  • What do I do after patent infringement occurs? 

  • How do post-grant reviews work?