You’ve come up with a fantastic idea for a product and want to get your toes wet in entrepreneurship. Where do you go from here?
Your first stop on your journey to greatness is to visit an intellectual property practice. This isn’t just a mere obligation, either. It’s the best possible chance you have at making sure your idea actually takes off the ground and gets you where you need to go. Today’s digital world is more accessible than ever, but with it comes the double-edged sword of stolen ideas and compromised properties. The domestic patent process is one that can be walked through with the aid of a patent attorney by your side. Here’s what you should know first before setting up an appointment.
Patent Law Has Been Around For A Long Time
Time for a crash course history lesson. The very first U.S. patent law was enacted all the way back in the late 1700’s. It since evolved to cover different kinds of products, different expiration dates and different consequences should infringement rear its ugly head. The U.S. Patent Office (also known as the USPTO) has received six times as many applications over the past few years as it did back in the 1980’s. As you can see, protecting one’s intellectual property is a trend that will only grow from here.
There Are Three Kinds Of Patents
Where does your idea land in the vast field of intellectual property practice? A significant detail you should know is that the USPTO defines three kinds of patents today. You have utility patents, design patents and plant patents. The utility patent to date is the most common type of patent issued in the United States Patent And Trademark Office, with as many as 90% of all documents falling under this criteria.
All Patents Have An Expiration Date
Nothing lasts forever. This is true for the fleeting experience of youth, the leftover guacamole in your fridge and, of course, intellectual property. Design patents, for starters, will expire 14 years from the date of issue. Utility and plant patents are a little different, on the other hand. After June of 1995 they will expire 20 years from the date of application alongside the payment of maintenance fees. Whether or not this is a deal breaker will depend on where you see yourself over the next decade.
Your Design Must Meet Certain Criteria
But wait! That’s not all you need to know before you dive headfirst into the oceans of intellectual property practice. Your design must not only choose a type of patent, it must also fit a certain criteria. The three standards an invention must meet before being considered is usefulness, novelty and non-obviousness. Unique packaging is also a major factor, such as the size or shape of a drink bottle. Keep in mind this will only protect a design for 14 years! A utility patent, on the other hand, is good for an extra six.
A Patent Lawyer Can Walk You Through The Process
The year 2016 alone saw the USPTO issuing over 300,000 patents. This number is only going to get higher as more people come up with fantastic ideas that need a little extra legal protection. According to data provided by the legal analytics firm Lex Machina, there were over 4,500 patent infringement suits filed that same year. Digital communication and computer technology claimed the first and second place in the list of the most international patent applications, though that shouldn’t deter you from meeting with patent lawyers.
Meet with a patent attorney in Colorado and see how your intellectual property can reach new heights in 2018 and beyond.