The patent process can be a little complicated to understand, depending on what it is you wish to patent. There are different types of patents but basically anything can be patented and will fit in to several different categories. First, let’s take a look at a few things which can be patented.
- A discovery
- An idea
- A product
- An invention
- A process
There are more things that can be patented but these will give you an idea to help you understand patenting in its entirety. Now to know what types of patents there are:
- Design patents
- Utility patents
Let’s first go over a designed patent and what that is and then we can place our five items into each category to help us better under the patent process steps.
This type of patent is not as common as the utility patent. The design patent protects the appearance of something. The benefits of the design patent is that it is cheaper and generally a faster patent process. (Faster means only takes about 1 or 2 years). A design patent only protects the design of the product and not the functionality.
This type of patent is the most common. Although these type are the more expensive kind and generally take longer, a utility patent is better protection than the design patent. Basically, this type of patent protects the functionality and not the design, the opposite of the design patent.
If you have an invention that has a unique or new design as well as as function you may want to file both a utility and a design patent. This may seem like an easy decision but it is recommend to speak with patent litigation attorneys before patent filing.
There is one other type of patent that is very uncommon, this is called a plant patent. This type of patent would be granted to a reproducible plant that make an exact copy of itself. This could include plants that are hybrids or unique mixes of other plants. The patent not only protects the plant but also the owner so that others can not create the same type of plant for a minimum of 20 years.
Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of the patent process and which kind of patent you may need for your product. Keep in mind that there is a lot more than can be covered and this article may only scratch the service but there is definitely plenty to go off here for a beginner. If you do plan to file some sort of patent, getting advice from a lawyer first with is always recommended, to make sure you are going down the right path.