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In the United States of America, a patent is issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The person who is granted the patent has the exclusive right to manufacture, sell, and also import the claimed design or invention. That is, a patent gives the entrepreneur a limited monopoly to make profit from his invention. There are two types of patent- utility and design patents.


What Is Utility Patent

A patent that protects how an invention functions such as the structure and functionality of the product is known as utility patent. A utility patent is applicable for a maximum period of 20 years from the date of its filing with the USPTO. The scope f protection of the product depends on the technical features that has been included in the application of the patent for the specified product.

How To File Your Patent

  1. Subject Matter
    • An inventor has to mention the process, the raw materials used to manufacture the product. The description should be concise and lucid.
  2. Describe the product precisely
    • Enablement- You need to describe the features of the invention lucidly in a such a way that it should “enable” another person to make a similar invention
    • Written description- content should be lucid and descriptive so a person with similar skills can create the same product.
    • Best mode- Also mention the best methodology of making a similar product.
    • Definitiveness- The product must be unique and one of its kind.
  3. Anticipation/Novelty
    • It must be an original and novel idea
    • Anticipated- Patent would not be granted if the elements in the claim is either “anticipated” or has prior reference in the trade journals, or patent publications. In brief, you will not be granted a patent for an invention that is not novel.
  4. Obviousness
    • The invention should be a novel one and must not be a modified version of already patented product.
  5. Grace period
    • Patent application must be filed within 12 months from the first disclosure of the product by the inventor.
    • Also note that if the invention is disclosed by a third-party before the filing date of the application, it will bar you from obtaining a patent.

What Is Design Patents

To protect the physical appearance of the invention you need to patent its design. Compared to the utility patent, design patent lasts only for 15 years from the filing date.

The claims in the application determines the scoped of protection for a design patent. Here instead of the technical specification, you need to submit clear drawings of the product. A new design must display all the patent criteria mentioned in the application.

Patent Filling For Small And Mid-Sized Entrepreneurs

The small business owners should file their patents within their federal registration system. The principle followed here is the “first to file”. That is, those who file the patent first gets the rights to the invention.

You can file for a utility as well as design patent with the USPTO under their “micro” business. The fees for filing the application would cost you $400. You would also have to pay a nominal amount of $250 at the time receiving the patent.

The examination process for design patent takes almost 13 months while for utility patent it takes about 18 months to initiate the process and close to 30 months to receive the patent.

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