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An Overview of Patents: What You Need to Know

An Overview of Patents: What You Need to Know

A patent is a legal document that grants exclusive rights to an inventor or company for a specific period of time. It gives the patent holder the ability to prevent others from making, using, selling, and importing an invention without their permission.

Patents can be a powerful tool for protecting and monetizing innovations, but it’s important to understand the different types of patents and the process for obtaining one. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of patents and what you need to know.

There are two main types of patents: Utility and Design.


Utility patents are the most common type of patent. This is granted to anyone who invents or discovers a new and useful process, the machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof, and they cover new and useful inventions or discoveries. Utility patents typically have a lifespan of 20 years from the date of filing, provided that the patent holder pays maintenance fees.


Design patents cover new, original, and ornamental designs for an article of manufacture. This could include the appearance of a product, such as a shape or color of a chair or the pattern on a piece of fabric. This also has a lifespan of 15 years from the date of the grant.

There is another type of patent called a plant patent. Plant patents cover asexually reproduced new varieties of plants that have been invented or discovered by the patent holder. This type of patent is relatively rare, and it has a lifespan of 20 years from the date of the grant.

To obtain a patent, an inventor or company must file a patent application with the appropriate government agency, such as the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application must include a detailed description of the invention and one or more claims. It should describe how the claimed invention is novel and non-obvious compared to existing technology. It may also include drawings or diagrams of the invention, if applicable.

The application process can be complex and time-consuming, and it’s often recommended to seek the assistance of a patent attorney or agent. The USPTO will review the application to determine if it meets the requirements for a patent. If the application is approved, the inventor or company will be granted a patent and have exclusive rights to the invention for the duration of the patent term.

It’s important to note that a patent does not guarantee the success of an invention. The patent holder must still take steps to commercialize and monetize the invention, such as by manufacturing and selling the product or licensing the technology to others.

In addition to obtaining a patent, it’s also important to consider other forms of intellectual property protection, such as trademarks and copyrights.


Trademarks protect words, phrases, symbols, and designs that distinguish a company’s products or services from those of others.


Copyrights protect original works of authorship, such as literature, music, and art. These forms of intellectual property protection can help safeguard your brand and creative works from unauthorized use.

It’s also worth noting that patents can be challenged or invalidated if it is determined that the invention was not truly novel or non-obvious at the time of the patent application. This is why it’s important to conduct thorough research and ensure that your patent application is complete and accurate.

By understanding the legal requirements for obtaining and maintaining a patent, you can help ensure that your intellectual property is properly protected.


Patents are a powerful tool for protecting and monetizing innovations. By understanding the different types of patents and the process for obtaining one, you can take advantage of this legal protection to help your business succeed.

At IP Procure, we offer a range of patent services to help inventors and companies navigate the patent process and protect their intellectual property. Find us on Facebook for weekly information updates, and contact us today to learn more.

IP Procure’s offices are located in San Jose, California; in Sewell, New Jersey; and in Media, Pennsylvania. Although our clients are placed on six different continents, we effectively communicate with them and draft and file their patent and trademark applications through e-mail, phone, and web conferencing. These tools have allowed us to interact just as effectively with our clients to obtain a summary of the concept of the invention and the idea. Furthermore, such electronic correspondence saves the client time in travel and expense. Optionally, our patent attorneys are available for a face-to-face meeting with a client to discuss the invention.

Call us: 408-649-5722 / 856-266-5145

Email: ash@ipprocure.com

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