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The Common Types of Available Patents in the United States

charter iconIn order to have a patent on a certain product, intellectual property, or an invention you must first file a patent application at the USPTO or the US Patent and Trademark Office located near you. When applying for a patent, even though the invention might have been an easy success for you, the patent can become difficult. Some inventors opt into hiring a patent attorney to help streamline the process.

Design Patent

As the name implies, a design patent covers the original, ornamental, and a new design that is included in or can be applied to a previous article that has been manufactured. As a utility patent, it also excludes anyone but the owner from using, selling, or manufacturing the design. The length of time that an owner has “rights” or a patent for their design is approximately fourteen years. For those concerned, these types of patents normally do not have a maintenance fee.

Plant Patent

Agriculture is a large part of the United States and can come in many shapes and sizes. Some people attempt to discover new and unusual plant species either by invention, discovery, or distinct. When a new plant is reproduced, whether it be in the form of a hybrid, mutant, or seedling, the correct patent for this would be a plant patent. These patents are not subjected to the normal maintenance fees that other patents may be charged over time. As with most patents, the plant patent requires that the owner be the sole distributor of the product or plant, meaning that no one else can make it, use it, or sell it for at least twenty years with a current standard plant patent.

Utility Patent

The utility patent is normally issued when an individual applies for a specific process that is a new idea, manufacture, matter composition, machine, or a useful or new type of improvement thereof. It allows the owner the ability to exclude other individuals from using, selling, or creating the invention. However, there is a time frame on how long this patent is operable, normally the time limit is 20 years from the original date that the owner filed the patent application. Another phrase for a utility patent is a patent for invention.

People who are interested in obtaining a patent should consider researching their specific location as many states may have other regulations or requirements that must be met before applying and being approved for a patent. The time limit for the patent may also vary over time or per state.

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