Protecting Your Invention with a Patent?

A patent is a form of protection that grants an exclusive right to an invention that is new, useful, and non-obvious. There are two basic types of patents and they protect different aspects of a product:

Utility Patent: What most people think of as a patent, a utility patent protects functionality, or the way something works.

Design Patent: Design patents protect the non-functional elements of a product. The design of a dinner fork handle, for example, can be protected with a design patent.

You can only get a patent for an invention if it meets the following criteria:

  • Patentable Subject Matter: If your invention is not a product of nature, such as a mathematical formula, or is too abstract, like a thought process, then it is a patentable subject matter.
  • Useful: Is your invention something that can be put to use?
  • New: Does your invention as you envision it already exist?
  • Non-Obvious: Would a person of average skill in the technological field of your invention consider the differences between what already exists and your invention obvious?

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International Patents

A United States patent only protects your invention within the U.S. and its territories. If you are interested in patent protection in other countries, you will need to file separate patent applications in those countries where you wish protection. In order to file a patent application in a given country, you need to use a patent agent in that country.

Obtaining a patent for your invention is easier said than done. If you have an invention that you want to protect, you want the help of an experienced patent agency, such as InventHelp, or a patent attorney. As a firm focused on intellectual property law, they can help you determine what type of patent is best for you and determine whether or not your invention meets these criteria. If it does, trust the registered patent attorneys, to take you through the complex patent application process.