The Different Types of Patents Available in the United States
By Intellectual Property Attorney Bill Honaker, The IP Guy
I got a call from a client today asking about his latest invention. He asked what types of patents are available, and which one he should pursue. The question is, “What type of patent is right for you?”
In the United States, there are three types of patents: Utility patents, Design patents, and Plant patents. Utility patents are the most common. Basically, they protect the function of things, or how things work. For example, they protect products, manufacturing processes, and chemical formulations. An example of a famous utility patent is Thomas Edison’s light bulb.
Design patents are a little less common, but just as important. They protect how a product looks, its overall appearance. Famous examples of design patents are the shape of the Coca Cola bottle or the Statue of Liberty. The patent on the Statue of Liberty was obtained to protect sales of small replicas to help fund the project.
Plant patents protect asexually reproduced plants. They are very rare. So rare, in fact, that we’re not even going to talk about them at all.
In this article we’ll focus on the more common utility patent and design patent.
To get either a design patent or a utility patent, you must first file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These applications require you to follow very specific rules.
I’ll dig deeper into those rules, and the process of getting a patent, next week. I’ll talk about the various parts of patent applications, and the steps in the process of getting patent protection, whether it’s utility or design.
Until then please click here to get a complimentary sample chapter from my new book, Invisible Assets – How to Maximize the Hidden Value in Your Business. The link will take you to a page where you can download the eBook. I really encourage you to look at it. There’s great information, it’s a quick read, and it will help you identify intellectual property in your business that you may not even be aware of, your incredibly valuable invisible assets.
About the Author:
Bill Honaker, “The IP Guy” is a former USPTO Examiner, a partner with Dickinson-Wright, and author of the forthcoming book, Invisible Assets – How to Maximize the Hidden Value in Your Business. To download a sample chapter, click here.