In today’s economy, small businesses, entrepreneurs, startups, and inventors are the rocket fuel pushing the boundaries of possibility. This is where new ideas are thought up and put into action. However, it’s equally important to protect this creativity and original thinking through patents which protect intellectual property. The patent process can be complicated, and it helps to have the support of an experienced patent attorney to make sure that the work is properly protected. Patent attorneys can also help challenge patent infringements in civil courts.
Protecting intellectual property
U.S. patent laws data back to 1790 and protect inventions, designs and processes as intellectual property. Patents grant exclusive rights to the inventor or patent holder for a limited period of time. Trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are other ways of protecting intellectual property. In exchange for exclusive rights, the patent holder provides a public disclosure of the invention.
At the present time, the demand for patents is driven by the tech industries. The number of applications received by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has increased sixfold since 1980. In just a single year, 2016, the USPTO received 303,051 requests for patents. Within tech, the largest number of patents are granted for digital communications and computer technology.
What is the patent process?
Patents are granted to inventions that meet three basic criteria: they should be useful, they should have the quality of novelty, and they should be non-obvious. Patents can be granted for utility, design and plants, for varying lengths of time. Utility patents make up 90% of all the patents granted by the USPTO. These and plant patents are valid for 20 years. Design patents are valid for a period of 14 years.
Patent protection can be necessary when competitors try and steal ideas and pass them off as their own. Patent attorneys can fight infringements, as well as helping with the patent application process. In the U.S., patent infringements can be challenged only in civil courts. Patent infringements can result in a loss of profits and royalties for the patent holder, which is why they must be challenged.
Who needs a patent attorney?
Patent law can be complicated and the so can the patent process. Patent attorneys must have a license to practice before the USPTO. Patent attorneys must also be admitted to the practice of law in one state. They can prepare and file patent applications, and prosecute patent infringements.
Especially in the world of technology, a patent can be worth a lot of money and an infringement can result in lost profits and royalties.
For a patent holder fighting a large corporation, representation by an experienced patent attorney can lead to a successful outcome in a patent infringement case. The patent holder can also win back lost profits and royalties.
Patents protect intellectual property and grant exclusive rights to inventions for a fixed period of years. At the present time, the demand for patents is driven by the world of technology. The patent process can be complicated and it helps to have a lawyer who can help with the application. Patent attorneys can also prosecute patent infringement cases in civil courts and win back lost profits and royalties for the patent holder.