Inventions are an essential part of human progress and are the backbone of technological and economic growth. In order to encourage innovation and protect the rights of inventors, the government grants patents to inventors who have created something new, useful, and non-obvious.
A patent is a legal document that gives the inventor exclusive rights to prevent others from making, using, copying, or selling the invention for a certain period of time. In order to be eligible for a patent, it must fulfill the three requirements mentioned above. This means that it should have a specific function or purpose, must not already exist and it cannot be something that would be obvious to someone ordinary in the field.
In this article, we will explore the different types of inventions that are eligible for patent protection, including:
- Utility patents.
- Design patents.
- Plant patents.
We will also discuss the process of obtaining a patent and the requirements that must be met for each of the above-mentioned types of inventions.
Utility patents are the most common type of patents granted to inventors who have created a new and useful process, the machine, manufacturing, or composition matter, or a new and useful improvement of any of the above. Utility patents have a tenure of validity associated with them. These patents are typically for 20 years from the date of filing. This is the most commonly filed patent hence most people think of it when they hear the word patent.
Examples of inventions that can be protected by a utility patent include:
- A new type of computer chip
- A new method for treating diseases.
- A new type of care engine.
Design patents are granted to inventors who have created a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. These patents are typically valid for 15 years from the date of grant. It is less common than utility patents but is still an important form of protection exercised by inventors.
Examples of inventions include:
- A new shape of a bottle.
- A new design feature for a tread of a shoe.
- A new pattern for fabric.
- A new computer icon.
A plant patent is also an ever-emerging type in which patents are granted to inventors who have created a new and distinct variety of plants, that includes hybrid plants. It has to be able to reproduce asexually. The validity of this type of patent lasts 20 years from the date of filing. It is to be noted that this type of patent is less common than utility and design patents but provides essential protection to inventors.
Examples of inventions include:
- A new variety of flowers.
- A new type of apple tree.
- A variety in corn.
Obtaining a patent can be a complicated and time-consuming process, it is recommended to seek the help of a licensed patent agent or attorney to assist you with directives in updated laws if any.
A licensed agent will help you to understand the requirements for obtaining a patent, assist you in drafting and filling out your patent application, and represent you in any of the legal proceedings that may be necessary.
If you believe you have an invention that is eligible for patent protection, it is important to seek the help of a patent agent who can guide you through the process and help you to protect your invention.