A patent is a right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention. U.S. patents are issued by the federal government for a limited period of time in exchange for the inventor’s public disclosure of the invention. Thus, a patent helps incentivize innovation by helping provide a temporary monopoly of an invention in the marketplace.
This public disclosure requirement creates a possible tension between patent law and trade secret law. One benefit of consulting with Henderson Franklin’s IP attorneys is our ability to help “navigate” the pros and cons of seeking patent protection versus maintaining an invention as a trade secret – to help you make an informed decision concerning your venture.
Patent law can help protect inventions and improvements covering new and useful processes, machines, manufactures, or compositions of matter.
Indeed, the categories of patent eligible subject matter are so broad that it is often more helpful to define patent eligible inventions by looking, instead, at what courts have various held cannot be patented, namely, abstract ideas (such as a mathematical formula or equation) natural phenomena, and laws of nature.
You should always consult with a registered patent attorney in evaluating whether an invention is potentially eligible for patent protection.
Patent Application Process
Within the “umbrella” of patent eligible inventions, the United States Patent and Trademark Office recognizes three basic categories of applications, namely, utility patents, design patents and plant patents. As these names suggest:
- utility patents protect some utilitarian function of an invention (most inventions fall under this category);
- design patents protect the ornamentation of a useful article; and
- plant patents protect new varieties of certain plants.
Our IP attorneys work with clients to prepare and file the necessary patent application paperwork.
Next, the application is reviewed by a Patent Office Examiner who either approves the application as-is or issues some form of correspondence. When appropriate, Henderson Franklin’s IP attorneys draft responses to such correspondence and otherwise advocate on behalf of copyright applicants.
Benefits of Patent Protection
There are many benefits to securing a federal copyright registration, including:
- the ability to exclude others (i.e., your competitors) from making, using, or selling your patented invention;
- the ability to file suit for patent infringement; and
- eligibility to seek litigation costs (and legal fees in exceptional cases).
Our Patent attorneys provide representation to numerous patent owners. For further assistance in this practice area, please contact Henderson Franklin's Registered Patent Attorney Luca Hickman at 239-344-1307 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mark Nieds at 239-344-1153 or by email at email@example.com.
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