A company’s leadership often worries about safeguarding any tangible property such as computers, office furniture, and other items within their office building that they deem to be valuable. However, only a few business owners realize just how important it is to protect their intellectual property rights. One way individuals or companies can ensure that their inventions don’t get knocked off by others is through patenting their idea. Design and utility patents are the most common patent types pursued for protections.
A design patent can only protect a product’s appearance. However, design patents can be useful to many designers who pride themselves on finding ways to re-conceptualize or re-envision existing products on the market. For example, NIKE holds many design patents to protect their shoe designs. Inventors often come up with innovative designs that appeal to consumers as part of this creative process. Designers who come up with unique, ornamental or new designs for a product may wish to patent their idea.
An inventor can protect the functional and structural attributes of their invention by filing for a utility patent.
Most inventors apply for this type of patent for articles of manufacture, new components for existing objects, or nuanced machine concepts. Inventors can also apply for utility patents if they’ve devised a new process for manufacturing an item. Inventors can have their new chemical or composition of matter protected by filing for a utility patent.
Some scenarios in which an inventor may want to apply for a utility patent is if they build a nuanced computer part, an innovative piece of machinery, or a new process for manufacturing.
It is important to note that applying for and securing a patent can be rigorous. Inventors must search to verify that no one else has already registered the same concept with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, an inventor may still be able to register the patent if there are enough differences between a registered idea and their own.
Additionally, the language that patent applicants must use to describe their discovery is often quite specific and technical. Furthermore, California inventors may be required to make technical drawings of their inventions as well. These regulations exist to help you protect your intellectual property rights. Therefore, it could be in your best interest to have an experienced intellectual property attorney partnering with you throughout all the stages of the patent process.