It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to know what patent will give you the best protection for your invention.  There are three distinctively different types of patents and each carry their own specific budgets, tailored protection and unique benefits. Make sure you fully understand and consider them all before filing any application.

The United States supports three distinct types of patents:

Utility Patents

These are the most common type of patent. They are granted to new machines, chemicals and processes. Learn more here.

Design Patents

These are granted to protect the unique appearance of design of manufactured objects, such as the surface ornamentation or overall design of the object. Learn more here.

Plant Patents

These are granted for the invention and asexual reproduction of new and distinct plant varieties, including hybrids. Learn more here.


 

What about provisional patents?

For utility patents, you can also file a Provisional Application. These are less formal documents that can prove the inventor was in possession of the invention and had adequately figured out how to make the invention work. Once a provisional utility application is on file, the invention is ‘patent pending’. Learn more here.

All three types of patents are grants from the Government that allow for the right to exclude others from practicing the invention. However, the specific types of intellectual material that becomes protected are all very different.


How can you tell which type of patent you need?

When you are to the point of applying for a patent, take a moment to consider which ones may be best for your unique invention. Here’s an example of how to look at which of the four patents may work best.

Congratulations! You are the inventor of a new paint can that keeps paint from dripping down the sides and onto anything it’s sitting on.

  • You can file a design patent to protect the distinctive look of your improved paint can. 
  • You can file a utility patent to protect the machine itself and the way it works. 
  • You can even file a provisional utility patent application to give yourself more time to file your utility application.
  • And obviously, since a paint can is not a plant, there’s no reason to file for a plant patent.

As you weigh your options, keep in mind that filing a patent has consequences. The USPTO publishes all utility patent applications just a few months after they are filed. At that point, your application is prior art against all future inventions. Be sure to have a sound strategy in place before filing for your patent(s) to avoid tripping over your own inventions. In other words, do it right the first time and you’ll avoid a lot of potential trouble down the line.

Sherinian Law Attorneys

Experienced Patent Attorneys

Patent Law is Complicated. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian have extensive experience in patent matters. We’ve helped clients obtain numerous patents, including more difficult categories such as software, electronics, and the mechanical arts. We have obtained numerous patents in the United States and throughout the world. In addition, we have litigated patent cases on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants in District Courts throughout the United States.

Contact Us Today

Whether you are at the initial starting stage, or trying to protect and enforce what you’ve already have, we can help patent and protect your idea or invention. Reach out to us today. We will quickly set up a time when you can speak to an experienced patent attorney.