FAQ

Search for your question!

What is the definition of a patent?

A patent offers the inventor protection over their invention. Specifically, a patent is a quid pro quo where the inventor teaches the public how to make and use their invention in exchange for a government sanctioned 20-year monoply on the invention. Patent rights are national so a U.S. patent (granted by the U.S. Patent Office) would only protect the inventor in U.S. and it's territores.

What rights does a patent provide?

A patent proides the owner (aka the inventor) with a 20-year monoply to make, use, sell, offer to sell, or import the invention claimed in the patent. Patent rights are national so a U.S. patent (granted by the us patent office) would only protect the inventor in us states and territores.

What kinds of inventions can be protected?

As of 2017, the standard is that 'anything under the sun that is made by man' is eligible for patent protection. However, there are three important exceptions to this rule; (1) abstract ideas, (2) mathematical formulae, and (3) naturally occuring phenomenon. Abstract ideas include ways of organizing and categorizing data. Mathematical formulae refers to attempts to patent a formula in its entirety, as opposed to a specific application of the formula. Naturally occurring phenomenon refer to attempts to patent properties inherent in a naturally occuring phenomenon.

How can I find out if my invention is already patented?

The best way is to have an attorney or patent search firm perform a patent clearance search. This is not the same as a freedom-to-operate opinion and if the person you are hiring cannot explain the difference to you, you should consider looking elsewhere.

How long does patent protection last?

Utility patents and plant patents last for 20 years from the filing date of the patent application. Design patents last for 14 years from the date that the design patent is granted.

How long does it take to get a patent

How long it takes to get a patent can vary greatly, depending on a number of factors. The timeline can range from 6 months to 7 years (both of where are extreme examples) but typically the process will take between 1-3 years. Again this depends on a variety of factors so it would be wise to consult a patent attorney to give you a more definite estimate.

Are patents renewable or can they expire and run out?

Utility patents and plant patents last for 20 years from the filing date of the patent application. Design patents last for 14 years from the date that the patent is granted. While utility patents do last for 20 years from the filing date, the owner of the patent must pay maintenance fees at 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years after the date of grant of the patent.

Is a patent valid in every country?

No, patent rights are limited to the nation that issued the patent. For example, a U.S. patent is issued by the U.S. Patent Office, and only offers protection in the United States and it's associated territories. There does exist a process for an "international" patent application, but that is to streamline the process of filing patents over the same invention in multiple countires. At the end of the day an applicant will have to file for a separate patent in each of the countries that they want protection in.

Can you get a international patent?

There does exist a process for an "international" patent application, but that is to streamline the process of filing patents over the same invention in multiple countires; at the end of the day an applicant will have to file for a separate patent in each of the countries that they want protection in.

How are patent rights enforced?

While there are many ways to enforce your patent rights, the most common way is to file a patent infringement lawsuit in federal District Court.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Ask us your question and we'll add it to our FAQ!