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What to know before applying for a patent

Patents are a great way to protect an invention or any intellectual property you create. They prevent others from legally stealing your invention and claiming it as their own. Patents also grant you exclusive rights to your invention and allows you to take legal action against others who infringe upon your rights.

There are various types of patents that exist. The process to apply and be approved for a patent can be unclear for many. However, the following information may give you a better idea of how the process works, which patent may be right for you and why consulting with an attorney can be essential during the application process.

What patent is right for you?

There are four different types of patents for use, depending on what category your invention falls under. The types of patents are:

  • Provisional patent
  • Utility patent
  • Design patent
  • Plant patent

A provisional patent grants you a one-year temporary patent-pending status on your product. This patent is usually used for products that aren’t completely finalized yet. This allows you to experiment and perfect your product over the course of the year. Before the end of the year, you must apply for a utility or design patent.

Utility patents protect your invention or product so that others cannot legally steal the design or any process. Design patents only protect the actual ornamental design on a product. It does not protect any functional aspects of the design. Lastly, a plant patent protects any certain types of plants.

How to apply for a patent

Beginning the application for a patent requires some research. It may be in your best interest to research the likelihood of your invention to be patented and to contact a lawyer to help you with the process. It could be a good idea to research if there have been any similar patents to yours. Researching can help you draft your application and make any changes if needed.

After conducting all your research, the next step is to fill out the patent application and submit it to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The application and approval process can be confusing if you are not knowledgeable on patent law. No matter what your situation is seeking the guidance of an experienced patent law attorney can help you during the application process. They will also be able to strengthen your claim and your application.

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