The Patent Law Utility Requirement

The Patent Law Utility Requirement

indexPatent law can be a tricky issue to approach. The object of getting a patent is so that you can protect your invention from anyone else marketing or selling it. However, there are certain requirements that you must meet in order to get a patent approved.

Anyone who discovers a new invention or a way to improve a new one, may obtain a patent for that invention. However, the invention must also be useful in order to receive the patent. This requirement is termed the utility requirement.

As you dive deeper into the world of patents, it becomes clear: There’s quite a variety out there. You might find yourself overwhelmed by terminology like utility patents, design patents, or plant patents.

Utility Patents

Understanding the different types of patents can be a tad overwhelming. Yet, it’s vital if you want to protect your intellectual property. If invention and innovation are your game, then the likelihood is you’ve come across the term ‘Utility Patent‘. Let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?

Defined as the guardian of new and useful processes, machines, manufactures, or compositions of matter, utility patents create a protective bubble around your invention. These patents are issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and they’re often the go-to for inventors.

Some key facts about utility patents

They provide protection for an impressive 20 years.
The protection they offer is effectual from the date of patent issuance, not the filing date.
It’s surprising to note, but utility patents make up about 90% of the existing patents.

The process to get your utility patent can feel daunting. But don’t worry, help is at hand! Lawyers, specializing in patents and trademarks, are your go-to resource for navigating this world. They can provide invaluable advice and guidance on structuring, preparing, and filing your utility patent application. They’ll outline all the necessary documents, deadlines, and fees involved, taking much of the stress off your shoulders.

In order to meet the utility requirement, the invention must work. It doesn’t have to work flawlessly, but it must work. Also, in order for a patent to be approved, the inventor must prove that their creation is “useful.” If problems arise when applying for a patent, it is usually because the applicant hasn’t shown why the invention would be useful. Another scenario is the rare occasion where the the assertion of utility is simply not credible, such as with a perpetual motion machine.

When it comes to utility, an invention must be useful to the public in its current form. That is to say that it cannot require further research or development before it is considered useful.

One thing that routinely affects those new to inventing and the patent process is that they often do not describe versions of their invention that do not work or perform poorly. This could lead to inferior products based on your invention. These failed prototypes are also part of your intellectual property because you have proved they failed or that you have a superior solution. If you can describe these in your patent application, you can prevent knockoff products.

Having a strong patent will prevent others from selling or marketing inferior versions of your device or invention. If you have questions about intellectual property law, which includes patents, contact the offices of Greenberg & Lieberman, LLC.

Categories: Intellectual Property Blog, Patents
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