Patents protect new and useful inventions for a limited time, so that the inventors can enjoy exclusive use of their inventions for a given period of time. Obtaining a patent is a complex and time-consuming process, and the use of a registered Patent Attorney is recommended to avoid costly mistakes. Utility patents are issued for inventions that are new and useful processes, machines, manufactured items, or chemical compositions. Design patents are issued for new, original ornamental designs for manufactured items.

The first step in deciding whether to apply for a patent is to determine whether the invention or design is, indeed, new. This is accomplished through a patentability search. If the search does not reveal any prior art which would preclude patenting the invention, then a patent application may be filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office. It generally requires multiple communications between the USPTO’s patent examiner and the inventor’s patent attorney before a patent is either issued or denied. The process typically takes more than a year to complete. The exact timeline will depend on the type of invention, the number and complexity of the claims, and how many communications with the patent examiner are required.

Having obtained a patent, a business can use the patented process or device, license others to use it, or both. The contract establishing a patent licensing agreement must be carefully constructed in order to comply with the law and accomplish the parties’ goals.

Gertz Legal, PS can help you develop a patent strategy that works for your business.