If you are a business owner, researcher, or inventor, you may believe that you have discovered a unique process or substance. In order to protect the findings that you have made and have time to develop them further before someone else takes advantage of it, you may need to apply for a patent.
Patents can be used for a wide variety of inventions and discoveries. You may need to apply for several different patents so that you can fully protect all aspects of the invention or discovery. The following is an overview of the three main types of patents.
A utility patent is the most common type of patent. This is in part because it can cover a wide variety of inventions, from the invention of a process to the unique and specific composition of matter.
Design patents can be used for a certain appearance or aesthetic and are technically defined as the surface ornamentation of an object. This could be a unique shape or composition of color. This type of patent can only protect the design elements of a product, so additional utility patents may need to be acquired.
Plant patents protect the creation of a new type of plant. To successfully obtain this patent, it must be possible for it to be asexually reproduced, and it must not be found in an uncultivated state.
If you are a business owner or a researcher, you may want to take action to protect an invention or discovery you have made by applying for a patent. Make sure that you fully understand the law on this and that you take action to fully protect your efforts.