A patent is the legal right to control the making, using, and selling of a patented invention for a limited time. A patent is a legal monopoly (exclusive possession and control over a product or service). There are three different types of patents: utility, design, and plant patents.

Patents are geographic, meaning they are issued per country (or region). Importantly, there is technically no such thing as an international patent. There is, however, a two-phase “international” (PCT) patent application process for utility and plant inventions to seek patent protection in all possible countries. Additionally, there is a Hague International Industrial Design patent application for unique ornamental designs.

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8 Reasons Patents are Important

  1. Encouraging Innovation: Patents encourage innovation by providing inventors with exclusive rights to their inventions, which incentivizes them to invest time, money, and effort into developing new and useful products, technologies, and processes.
  2. Providing Economic Incentives: Patents provide economic incentives for inventors, allowing them to profit from their inventions by licensing them, selling them, or using them to establish a competitive advantage in the market.
  3. Promoting Entrepreneurship: Patents encourage entrepreneurship by providing inventors with the means to protect their ideas and secure funding, allowing them to start new businesses and create jobs.
  4. Facilitating Investment: Patents facilitate investment by providing investors with a means to assess the value and potential of an invention, enabling them to make informed decisions about whether to invest in a particular technology or product.
  5. Granting Exclusive Rights: Patents grant exclusive rights to the patent holder, protecting against infringement and providing legal remedies for infringement, which allows inventors to prevent others from using, producing, or selling their inventions without permission.
  6. Encouraging Sharing of Knowledge: Patents encourage sharing of knowledge by requiring inventors to disclose the details of their inventions, which allows others to build upon their work and advance the state of the art.
  7. Ensuring Quality and Safety Standards: Patents ensure quality and safety standards by requiring inventors to meet certain criteria and standards before their inventions can be patented, protecting consumers from potentially dangerous or defective products.
  8. Encouraging Fair Competition: Patents encourage fair competition by promoting the development of new and innovative products, technologies, and processes that can compete with existing products and technologies, fostering a competitive market.

3 Types of Patents – Utility, Design, and Plant

There are three types of patents that can be issued for your invention depending on what kind of invention you have created. For inventions with new uses and functions, there are utility patents. For new unique designs, there are design patents. Additionally, if you have invented a new plant, there are plant patents. A brief summary of each type of patent is described below, and there are links to more information for each type. There are patent examples on the utility patents page and the design patents page.

Utility Inventions

Patent Attorney Help with Utility Patent Applications

A utility patent protects the way an article is used and works (35 U.S.C. 101). A utility patent only covers the way an invention functions but not the way it looks. In the United States, utility patents are issued for 20 years from the filing date. This means that if a patent is issued, the inventor has a legal right to this patent for the next 20 years. In addition, the estimated cost to patent a general utility invention is about $9000 in total.

Design Inventions

Patent Attorney Help with Design Patent Applications

A design patent protects the way an article looks (35 U.S.C. 171). Design patents are issued for 15 years from the issue date in the United States. As mentioned above, this means that the inventor will have the right to control their invention for the following 15 years. In addition, the estimated cost to patent a general utility invention is about $5300 in total.

Plant Inventions

Patent Attorney Help with Plant Patent Applications

A plant patent protects a plant that possesses new or unique characteristics (35 U.S.C. 161). For example, an inventor could patent an asexually reproduced plant. Some plants, however, are not patentable. Tuber-propagated plants, which are reproduced by the same part of the plant that is eaten, cannot be patented. Plant patents are issued for 20 years from the filing date, similar to utility patents.

A Patent is Constitutional Right

The Congress shall have Power To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution

Patents are a constitutional right in the United States because they are specifically provided for in the U.S. Constitution. Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution, often referred to as the Patent and Copyright Clause, gives Congress the power to grant patents to inventors and secure for a limited time the exclusive right to their discoveries and inventions. The Constitution recognizes that the promotion of science and the useful arts is an important public interest and that granting inventors exclusive rights to their inventions is an effective way to encourage innovation.

As a result, patents are not just a legal construct or a creation of federal law but are instead rooted in the Constitution itself. In practice, this gives inventors effectively a constitutional right to seek and obtain a patent for their invention. Applying for and getting a patent is subject to the four patentability criteria which are patent eligible subject matter, novelty, non-obviousness, and usefulness.

The constitutional basis for patents also means that they are not merely a matter of property rights or contractual arrangements between private parties. Rather, patents are instead a fundamental aspect of the social contract underlying the relationship between inventors, society, and the government. The government grants patents to inventors as a way of promoting the public interest in technological progress, and in exchange for this grant of exclusivity, the inventor agrees to publicly disclose the details of their invention.

Overall, the constitutional basis for what is a patent provides inventors with a strong legal foundation for seeking and enforcing patent rights. The basis for what is a patent coming from our constitution underscores the importance of innovation and technological progress in American society.

What is a patent right?

It is a new constitutional right in the form of a legal monopoly to control the making, using, and selling of an invention. The patent law known as 35 U.S.C. §101 reads in part: “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefore, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.” The conditions and requirements of applying for and getting a patent are our focus and speciality. Schedule a free consultation for your invention.

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What is the Purpose of a Patent?

The purpose of a patent is to provide legal protection for inventors and innovators who have created something new and useful. A patent grants the inventor the exclusive rights to make, use, and sell the invention for a certain period of time. The duration of a patent depends on the kind of patent. Utility and plant patents last for 20 years from the date of filing. Design patents last for 15 years from date of issue. A patent is only granted in exchange for disclosing the details of the invention to the public.

By obtaining a patent, the inventor can prevent others from using, making, or selling the invention without their permission. This gives the inventor a competitive advantage in the marketplace and the ability to profit from their invention.

Further, patents encourage innovation by providing an incentive for inventors to invest time and resources into developing new technologies and products. This is because patents let inventors be assured that they will have a period of exclusive rights to their invention which gives them time to recoup their investment and make a profit.

Additionally, the public benefits from patents because the patent holder must disclose the details of the invention in their patent application. This information can be used by others to build upon the invention and create new and improved products or technologies.

Overall, the purpose of a patent is to promote innovation and progress by protecting and incentivizing inventors and providing the public with access to new ideas and information.

A Brief History of Patents

The history of patents dates back several centuries, with some of the earliest recorded examples of exclusive rights granted to inventors dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. However, the modern patent system as we know it today began to take shape in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries and became a reality in the United States in 1790.

In 1474, the Republic of Venice granted the first known patent. This patent was a 10-year exclusive right to a new invention known as the “bottacino” which is essentially a flat-bottomed boat that could be propelled by a set of oars. This grant of exclusive rights to an invention set a precedent. In the following centuries, other European countries began to develop their own systems for granting exclusive rights to inventors, and by the 18th century, the concept of patents had spread to other parts of the world including the United States.

In the United States, the first patent law was passed in 1790 which granted inventors the exclusive right to their discoveries and inventions for a period of 14 years. Over the years, the U.S. patent system has evolved and expanded with new laws and regulations being put in place to ensure that patents are granted to truly novel and non-obvious inventions that advance the state of the art. The U.S. system set the example for the development of patent systems in most other countries of the world.

Today, patents are an important aspect of the modern economy. They provide inventors with the legal protections and incentives they need to invest in research and development and to bring new and innovative products and technologies to market. Patents are granted for a wide range of inventions from pharmaceuticals and medical devices to software and computer hardware. The patent system will continue to evolve to align with the changing needs of inventors and society as a whole.

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