How to File a Patent
How to file a patent. Process to get a patent, definition of patent, duration of patents. Guide to help you protect your ideas well!
Definition of Patent
Design patents protect the appearance or shape of a product or its packaging. In order to be protected under patent law, the product or packaging must have a specific appearance that can be recognized. The key here is the outer appearance of the product; design patents do not cover the utility of the product. The utility of the product is usually protected under the utility patent. Examples of previously granted design patents include the designs for the iMac, iPhone and iPod, shapes of new cars, jewelry designs, lotion bottle designs.
While design patents cover only the outer appearance of the product, utility patents cover the features and use of the product itself and the way it is made. New utility patents can also be filed for inventions that have been modified, built upon or enhanced in any way to improve its utility to consumers. Examples of utility patents previously granted include skin care technology, Velcro, mobile phone technology, post-it pads.
How to File a Patent
How to File a Design Patent
In order to file a design patent, you need to do so within one year of the first offer for sale. Competition for design patents can be high, so make sure you file early and ahead of competition. One way to be careful is to make sure that anyone else who has access to the design (subcontractors, partners, employees) sign nondisclosure agreements or confidential letters until you have filed the design patent successfully.
How to File an Utility Patent
Similarly, you must file an utility patent within one year of the first offer for sale or public use. Be careful about who has access to your invention: make sure your partners, subcontractors and employees sign nondisclosure agreements or confidential letters until you have filed the utility patent successfully.
Duration of Patents
Duration of Design Patents
Design patents last for fourteen years after the issue of the patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Duration of Utility Patents
Utility Patents last twenty years from the date of filing at the US Patent and Trademark Office.