What types of patents are there – There are four types of patents that protect one’s intellectual property. But before we take a deeper look into the subject, let us define what a patent is in layman’s terms. So what is a patent?
A Patent can be defined as a legal certification of a document that gives you the right or the backing to protect your invention in specific territories. Patents can be granted for devices, products [ goods ], systems, compositions, processes, uses, and methods but patents cannot be granted for mere ideas like a time machine.
A patent granted in the US is valued for only 20 years for products and systems and 14 years for plants and designs, from the day of acquiring the patent to 20 years, after the patent expires, the invention is longer under patent protection, hence anyone can recreate it, sell, or import it with no penalties attached. That is why you see people trying to recreate machines like cars, planes, and other systems with no legal action against them.
With a patent, you are preventing anyone else from making, using, selling, or importing your invention without necessary clarifications.
Features Of Patentable Inventions
Before an inventor can acquire a patent for his goods or inventions, the invention:
- Must be new and not an obvious idea everyone can just reason on.
- A patentable invention must be a solution to a problem.
Uses Of Patent
- Patents add value to your invention or business
- It enhances your brand image
- You can also use patents to negotiate to finance your business or invention.
What Types Of Patents Are There?
- Provisional Patent
- Utility Patent
- Design Patent
- Plant Patent
This is a less formal patent but proves that the inventor is in possession of the invention and has properly figured out how to make the invention work to solve a technical problem of society. In other words, we can say a provisional patent shows that the inventor has the white paper and the roadmap of the invention. And once that is on file, the invention is patent pending.
However, if the inventor failed to file a formal patent after a year of a provisional patent, it becomes invalid. Meaning any public disclosure made relying on that provisional patent application will now count as public disclosure to the United States Patent and Trademark Office [USPTO].
Simply put, a utility patent protects the functional features of an invention – a direct opposite of a design patent which protects the non-functional appearance of an invention. Utility patents come in long technical documents that teach the public how to use the functional features of an invention.
Utility patents include • detailed description • drawings •multiple claims and as such, they are more complex to write, costs more, takes longer to get, and have a very high rejection rate. And that leads us to design patents.
As said earlier design patents protect the non-functional appearance of an invention. Everything in a design patent revolves around the drawing, it’s all about the invention’s appearance. The document itself is almost entirely made of pictures and drawings of the design of the invention.
Just as the name sounds, plant patent protects new kinds of plants and seeds or seedlings produced by cuttings or other non-sexual means. Plant patents do not generally cover genetically modified organisms and focus more on conventional horticulture.
So these are the types of patents that exist generally though only three functions in the US, are the Utility patent, design patent, and plant patent.