What is a Patent?

A patent is a right granted by the government to an inventor. This right is provided directly by the Constitution, and allows a patent holder to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention as claimed in their patent. An inventor exercises this right by filing patent infringement lawsuits in federal court.

What types of patents are available?

There are three types of patents: Utility, Design, and Plant. A utility patent is what most people think of when they hear the word "patent." Those cover machines, processes, and articles of manufacture. A design patent covers the unique, ornamental, or visible shape or surface ornamentation of an article or object; no functional claims may be disclosed. Plant patents cover asexually and sexually reproducible plants. All of these types are established under 35 U.S.C. 101.

How can I obtain a patent?

To obtain a patent, you must show three things:

  • 1. That the invention is new: no one else has already invented it,
  • 2. That the invention is useful: it does something functional, and
  • 3. That the invention or improvement is not obvious to one skilled in that art.

How long does it take to get a patent?

There are three phases in obtaining a patent: Application, Examination, and Final.

The application phase is where the patent application is drafted and submitted to the USPTO, along with proper drawings, disclosures, and claims. This phase usually lasts a month or more, depending on complexity.

The examination phase is where responses to office actions, amendments, arguments, and interviews are used to gain the most protection for the invention. This usually lasts for two to three years, depending on the backlog in the art unit where the patent is filed.

The final phase is where the patent is either granted or denied. If granted, utility and plant patents last for 20 years from the date of filing, while design patents last for 14 years from the date of filing.

In the United States, the law requires that you file an application with the patent office within one year of making the invention known or available to the public. At Kafantaris Law Offices, we will examine your invention and determine whether you satisfy the timing requirements to file for a patent.