Have you invented something? Has your small business created its own line of products? Are you a scientist who specializes creating new plants? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will need to know about intellectual property laws as they pertain to your creation. Inventions, designs, and asexually reproduced plants are typically protected through patents, which are a specific type of this intellectual property.
Business owners and entrepreneurs alike should look into the patent process to protect their work. However, many of them are unsure of exactly how to start this process. If this is something you are currently going through, here are the answers to some of the questions you may have about patents.
What is a patent, and what does it protect?
Patents are used to protect different products, processes, designs, and plants — in short, tangible objects. This differs from copyrights, which protect creative works, and trademarks, which are used for logos, brand names, and other marks.
There are three different types of patents: utility patents, which protect new and useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, compositions of matter, or improvements on any of the above; design patents, which protect new, original, and ornamental designs for any article of manufacture; and plant patents, which protect new and distinct varieties of asexually reproduced plants.
What should I do to receive patent protection for my invention?
In most cases, it is best to work with an intellectual property lawyer to find out what you need to do to protect your creation. Patents in the U.S. are filed through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
What is the length of patent protection in the United States?
The length of patent protection depends on whether or not that patent has been renewed. In order to maintain a patent through the USPTO, an inventor has to pay a maintenance fee three times throughout the life of that patent. Currently, the length of patent protection is 20 years, and the maintenance fees are paid between at the three-, seven- and eleven-year marks of the patent’s lifetime.
Why is seeking intellectual property protection important?
Intellectual property is at serious risk for infringement and theft. In terms of content on the web, at least 25% of internet traffic is estimated to be used for consuming infringed content. For businesses, the threat of insider IP theft is a grim reality, with former employees and trusted business partners accounting for 21% and 17% of all theft cases, respectively. Working with a lawyer to ensure that patents are filed correctly and in a timely manner can save business owners and creators from costly litigation later on.
Have more questions about patent protection? Be sure to research patents on web and speak with an intellectual property attorney about your individual situation. You can also leave a comment below for more information. Helpful sites.
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