As an inventor, you need to protect your intellectual property. The best way to do this may be to patent your invention. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers different types of patents. As you begin the patent process, you may wonder, “What type of patent do I need?” This is a difficult question that is best answered by sitting down with an experienced and registered patent attorney. Your patent lawyer will discuss your invention and plans and help you determine which patent might work best for you.
What Type of Patent Do I Need?
In general, there are four different types of patents. These options include:
- Utility patent. Utility patents are most commonly used for inventions. You may file a utility patent for new machinery, software, compositions of matter, or processes. According to the USPTO, most patents filed are utility patents.
- Provisional patent. A provisional patent can be used as an informal way to show the USPTO that you are in possession of an invention and know how to make it work. Once filed, you can use “patent pending” on your invention. However, you must file a formal utility patent within one year or you will lose your filing date.
- Design patent. Design patents protect an ornamental design on a useful item, or article of manufacture. A design or shape of a shoe is an example of a design that could be patented.
- Plant patent. Plant patents are used for the invention or discovery of asexually reproduced plants and plant varieties.
Filing a Patent
When determining which type of patent you need, it is important to note that you do not have to pick only one. Your invention could benefit from filing multiple patent applications. For example, you may file a provisional patent immediately to protect your invention. Within the year, you could file a utility patent and a design patent to protect the useful features of the invention, as well as its distinct design.
Due to the complexities of intellectual property law, it is important to speak to an experienced patent attorney. You need someone on your side with extensive knowledge of intellectual property law, as well as the time and resources to properly file your patents.
Contact Our Patent Attorneys in Dallas Today
At Carstens & Cahoon, LLP, our registered patent attorneys know the steps to take to get your patent registered. Without the right protection, your intellectual property is in danger. That is why we offer comprehensive patent services for you, from patent counseling to patent litigation.