A patent is not a one-size-fits-all protection for your invention. In fact, there are three types of patents available in the U.S. It’s important to determine which type of patent you wish to apply for.
The different types are:
- Utility patents: Utility patents are reserved for processes, such as a new way to manufacture a piece of equipment, a new piece of equipment, such as a new television, new components used in the manufacture of products, and even new compositions of matter (maybe you’ve stumbled on a new type of element).
- Design patents: A design patent applies to the outside appearance of a product, such as the external design of a new gaming console. A design patent is not the correct type of patent for any type of internal structure, component or type of application.
- Plant patent: This refers to the garden or agricultural variety, not to a power plant or manufacturing facility. If you’ve identified or created a new type of plant, this is the patent for you.
Once you’ve determined which type of patent or patents you wish to pursue, you can then begin the patent application process. This process can be long and complicated. At a minimum, you will want to provide the patent office with:
- A detailed document of your invention’s purpose and specifications
- A statement declaring you believe your product to be the first of its kind
- A drawing of your product, if it’s difficult to visualize
- Any required fees
Of course, you will want to perform a detailed patent search to ensure no one has beat you to the punch. Working with a skilled intellectual property law professional can help ensure this process is carried out as smoothly as possible and help increase your chances of being awarded a patent for your invention.