If you are working on something totally innovative for your startup, you may want to know whether you can patent your invention. There are a few things you will need to consider before deciding to file a patent application, which can be complex and lengthy. Below are seven things startups should know about patents. To learn more about your full rights and options, please call the patent attorneys at Verhagen Bennett LLP today for your initial consultation.
1. Patents are for inventions, not ideas.
What many people do not realize is that you can not just patent an idea; you need something more. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you must have invented or discovered a “process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter” in order to be eligible to receive a patent. Additionally, your invention must be new and useful. That means you cannot obtain a patent for an invention that is exciting and unique but serves no purpose in life.
2. Patents are country-specific, but an invention must be globally unique.
When conducting your patent search before applying for a patent, make sure you conduct your search globally. In order to obtain a patent, your invention must be new and useful in the entire world (not just in the U.S.). However, since a country can only control what happens within its borders, you must apply for your patent through the patent authority in the country where you are seeking patent protection (for example, with the USPTO for protection in the United States).
3. There are three types of patents in the U.S.
There are three types of patents in the U.S. - utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Utility patents are the most common type of patent, and they apply to new inventions of machines, manufactured objects, and compositions of matter. Design patents apply to the appearance or design of those machines, manufactured objects, and compositions of matter. Finally, plant patents may be granted to those who discover a new species of plants. To determine which type of patent is right for you, please speak with one of our patent attorneys at Verhagen Bennett LLP.
4. If you are not first, you are last.
In the patent world, if you are not first, you are last. This means that if two people are working on the same invention at the same time, the patent will be granted to the first person to file the patent application. It does not matter who invented first, just who filed first.
5. You will have to be very patient.
Patents can take years to be granted, so you will have to be patient. The current wait time for patent applications is constantly updated, so be sure to check this site before submitting your patent application so you have a good idea of how long it will take for your patent application to be processed fully.
6. Patent applications are expensive.
As a startup, you are probably trying to stick to a tight budget. Make sure you identify all the costs of filing a patent application prior to engaging in the process. Costs can include drawing and manufacturing your invention, hiring an attorney, performing a global patent search, and more. On the lower end, patents can easily cost over $10,000 to obtain.
7. Patent laws are constantly changing.
With the rapid development of technology, patent laws are also constantly changing. Make sure you stay up to date with the latest patent laws on the USPTO website, and speak with an experienced patent attorney to ensure your understanding of patent laws is current.
If you are considering filing an application for a patent, make sure you speak with one of the experienced patent attorneys at Verhagen Bennett first. Contact us via our website or at 310-917-1064 for initial free consultation.
© 2018 Verhagen Bennett LLP — This article is for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.