Archives for January 2013

Main differences between a utility patent and design patent

After receiving a lot of emails asking for more information on design and utility patents, I decided to write a short article which I hope answers some of your questions.

The United States Patent Office offers two main types of patents: utility patents and design patents. If you’re considering patenting your intellectual property, invention, or idea, it’s important to understand the difference between a utility patent and design patent. A utility patent is used to protect the function or goal of an invention, while a design patent is focused more on the method of achieving that goal than the goal, itself.

Utility patents

These are the most common types of patents and, while they’re more expensive than design patents, many people believe they offer better invention protection. Utility patents can provide protection for the function of an invention, as well as similar other variations, such that other competitors who are considering similar products will have a difficult time creating a similar product or invention without infringing on the patent.

Unfortunately, as well as being more expensive, these patents also take longer to procure than design patents. While the patent is in the process of being filed, which is generally a couple of years, a provisional patent can be issued for temporary protection, allowing you to use “Patent pending” when discussing your invention, which offers a very basic, fundamental level of deterrence for competitors.

Design patents

Design patents cover the appearance of a product or the specific design, rather than the function, goal, or utility of an invention. These patents are cheaper and quicker to procure than utility patents, but they do not cover any functional aspects of the invention. It’s also more difficult to patent variations on design than it is to patent variations on function.

Filing for both types at once

It’s possible to have a situation where you’ll want to file one of each type of patent. These situations might be for new inventions that achieve a novel goal by novel means and have a unique design. One relatively famous example where patents of each type were filed for the same invention was for the iPad.

Contact us for more assistance or a consultation on patenting your design or invention.

How to Find a Good Patent Attorney: 5 Tips

You think you’ve created a great product and want to patent it. Going through this process yourself could become very difficult and confusing. You might end up becoming frustrated and giving up on the patent process or even get rejected. Hiring a patent attorney could be the answer, however you want your attorney to effectively guide you through this process. Nothing could be more frustrating than paying an attorney who doesn’t know anymore than you do. Below are 5 tips on how to find a good patent attorney.

Research Do your own research on the patent process beforehand. You won’t be an expert after reading a book or two but you’ll have an idea of what your potential attorneys will be discussing with you. It might help you gauge how well they know what they’re talking about too.

Be Particular – Decide what skills you want your attorney to have. Do you want your attorney to have patent knowledge only? Or knowledge of other intellectual areas in addition to patent knowledge? You may need their assistance with your product after the patent process is complete. Be picky! Chances are you have put a lot of work into this product. Don’t choose an attorney because they are the cheapest or most convenient. Experience and knowledge is important. The patent process can be tricky.

Interview – Many will go to great lengths just to find a good physician or dentist. They’ll spend days, or even weeks, interviewing potential doctors. Do the same when finding a patent attorney. You will be working with this particular individual on something you care about. Ensure your ideas, work ethic, and morals are compatible. Your potential attorney should be willing to understand your product just as much as you do. They shouldn’t be making claims that are obvious about your product. Your product should be presented as unique and specific.

Rejection – Many patents are rejected two or three times before being accepted. Talk about how you and your attorney will make changes to the patent in order to be successful. It’s necessary to have a plan and an attorney who knows how to describe and present your product in the event of failure.

Fees – Obviously when searching for an attorney you’ll consider potential fees. Keep in mind, the patent process costs an average of $5,000. As stated before, don’t choose an attorney because of low costs. The most knowledgeable attorneys might charge accordingly.

Finding the right patent attorney will take work. It doesn’t have to be a painful and daunting process. Follow these 5 tips and you may be happy with your decision. We can also help you find a good attorney. We work with some of the best patent attorneys world wide and can find you a suitable match.

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