Patent Law




What is Patent Law? It encompasses the branch of law that governs patents. U.S. patent laws were enacted by Congress under its Constitutional grant of authority to protect the discoveries of inventors. A patent is the grant of an exclusive property right to the inventor for the benefits of an invention or improvement, granted by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), for a specific period of time. The invention or idea, by its nature, must be patentable; one skilled in the applicable field must be able to make and use the claimed invention; it must be new (novel) and has not been iterated; its originality must be obvious, meaning the idea cannot be something that anyone in the applicable field of expertise could have easily identified; and it must be useful. Patent law specialists can make a search of patents to determine if the proposed invention is truly unique, and if it appears to be, can file an application, including detailed drawings and specifications.

Only the inventor, or an attorney registered to practice before the USPTO, can prepare and submit a patent application. A legal document, which contains a detailed description of what the invention is and how to make or use it, is issued to the inventor (patentee), which gives the owner of the patent the right to exclude any other person from making, using, or selling the invention covered by the patent.

The USPTO offers the following types of patent applications: 1) utility, which includes a process, a machine, manufactured products, and compounds or mixtures (such as chemical formulas); 2) design, which is a new, original and ornamental design for a manufactured article; and 3) plant inventions, which are any distinct and new variety of cultivated asexually reproduced plants. The USPTO classifies applications for utility and plant inventions into provisional and non-provisional applications. Provisional patent applications may be filed for any invention that has not been publicly disclosed for more than one year from the date of filing. Provisional patent applications do not get examined by the USPTO, but are used as a vehicle to obtain a priority date and may be useful in obtaining “patent pending” status on ideas during final stages of development, or while raising capital or test marketing. The USPTO does not use provisional and non-provisional applications for design inventions. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international agreement for filing patent applications. Although an inventor cannot obtain an international patent through the PCT, it does allow the inventor to file a single international patent application in order to simultaneously seek protection for an invention in over 125 countries worldwide.

The term of a new patent has changed over time and is currently 20 years from the earliest claimed filing date, but all three types of patents require payment of maintenance fees to keep them effective. Once the term has ended, if no extension has been filed and approved, the patented invention enters the public domain. Manufacture of a product upon which there is an existing patent is "patent infringement" which can result in a lawsuit against the infringer with substantial damages granted.

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Articles About Patent Law

  • Current Trends in Patent Litigation and Expert Witnesses
    Litigation due to patent infringement is an ongoing problem, and it tends to rise during certain periods over time. Since 2012, the amount of lawsuits over these issues has been the highest in several decades due to various individuals seeking either the same patents or attempting to reproduce the items of a currently patented creation.
  • How To Properly Describe An Invention For Your Patent Application
    Patent applications require up to five well-written descriptions which not only complement each other, but do not conflict.
  • Multiple Individuals Fighting for the Same Patent
    Patents are usually applied for by either a single individual or a group of persons that have invented a unique item or process to a pre-existing object. In some situations, the invention is a new method or process.
  • Intellectual Property Disputes and an Expert Witness’ Examination
    Intellectual property is owned by the person that designed, created or invented the item. However, there are many cases of infringement on the legal protections obtained to safeguard the object from public use, competitors and reproduction. If someone has been violating the patent, copyright, trade secret or trademark, a lawyer versed in this form of law is needed.
  • Design Patents: What They Can and Cannot Do
    Getting a patent is often useful and important for an inventor of a creation. However, what type of this intellectual property protection to obtain is often debated by the person applying. There are two main categories of these, and they affect different aspect of the patented work.
  • Steps to Take Immediately After Registering Your Trademark
    Trademarks are important to keeping the intellectual property of a phrase, words, symbol or image branded to the public and safe from possible generic use. When the idea or concept has been imagined and applied for a trademark through official channels, it is possible to safeguard the vision from others and fraudulent use.
  • How to Search for Existing Patents when Completing Your Patent Application
    The original creation of an inventor may be a remnant of an idea that was used previously by another individual. This is because numerous persons view items in the stores, online, through television and other media.
  • Legal Protections to Protect Your Ideas
    There are a few ways to protect original ideas persons have when creating a path to revenue or when someone wants to keep his or her work safe. When researching how to safeguard these ideas or creations, it is important to ensure the ways are safe and legal. This means that anything that may require access to restricted areas of the internet or servers that sound illegitimate should be avoided.
  • What Is a Utility Patent and What Does it Protect?
    Patents are legal ways of protecting an idea that is used to create and invention. It is the produced work that is guarded through the patent through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This manner of protecting an invented item lasts from fourteen to twenty years in most circumstances.
  • Software Patents and Alice in the Looking Glass
    The public tends to believe the purpose of the Patent Office is to issue patents. The facts paint a different conclusion.
  • All Intellectual Property Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Intellectual Property including: copyright, domain names, licensing law, patents, trade secrets and trademark.

Patent Law - United States

  • Patent and Trademark Law Center

    American Patent and Trademark Law Center is a professional association of independent registered patent attorneys and specializes in patent, trademark, copyright and related business and government contract matters, such as licenses.

  • Patent Cooperation Treaty

    The States party to this Treaty (hereinafter called "the Contracting States") constitute a Union for cooperation in the filing, searching, and examination, of applications for the protection of inventions, and for rendering special technical services.

  • Patent Law - Overview

    Patents grant an inventor the right to exclude others from producing or using the inventor's discovery or invention for a limited period of time. U.S. patent laws were enacted by Congress under its Constitutional grant of authority to protect thediscoveries of inventors.

  • Patent Law - Wikipedia

    United States patent law was established "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;" as provided in the United States Constitution.

  • Patent Law Portal

    Our goal is to provide you with the most diverse and current resource center for the professional patent law community and inventors. The Patent Law Portal is the definitive guide for patent information required by inventors and patent professionals alike.

  • Trilateral Co-operation

    The Trilateral Co-operation was set up in 1983 between * the European Patent Office (EPO), * the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and * the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

  • United States Patent Act

    The U.S. Patent Act is found in Title 35 of the U.S. Code and contains the federal statutes governing patent law in the United States.

  • United States Patent and Trademark Office

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the Federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks.

Patent Law - International

Organizations For Patent Laws

Publications For Patent Laws




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