While trade secrets receive protection without registration, generally, for information to be considered a trade secret, certain conditions must be met
A patent is a limited right to exclude others for doing, making, or using something. This right is given by the government to an inventor in exchange for disclosing their inventions to the public.
In effect, a patent is like the deed to a house. It sets forth the meets and bounds of what is owned, and allows the owner to show that they are entitled to keep others from infringing upon their property.
One obtains a patent by filing an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and successfully demonstrating to the USTPO Examiner that the material claimed in your application is 1) patentable subject matter, 2) novel, 3) non-obvious, and 4) paying all associated fees.
Patents can be used defensively to prevent others from entering into your company’s market space.
They can be used offensively to generate an additional avenue by which to derive income.
By risk mitigation and as an indication of business acumen. Potential investors, strategies partners, or acquirers will conduct due diligence prior to entering into agreements with your business, and protecting your IP with intelligent patenting will reduce the potential risk to their interests, while signaling that you are a savvy business person who is proactively protecting your own interests.
Yes, there are multiple types of patent application, each having unique uses.
Provisional patent applications – These applications are informal placeholder filings, which never get examined or mature into issued patents, but are used to establish an early date of conception or invention.
Utility patent applications – Utility applications are directed to a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof. They are highly formal technical documents which teach a person of skill in the relevant art how to make and use an invention. These applications go through the examination process and can eventually issue into right granting patents.
Design patent applications – Design patent applications are directed to the ornamental design of a functional object. When issued as a patent their protection is limited to the aesthetic features of the claimed subject matter and not to its functionality.
Plant patent applications – A plant patent covers a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. Plants are limited to:
- A living plant organism which expresses a set of characteristics determined by its single, genetic makeup or genotype, which can be duplicated through asexual reproduction, but which can not otherwise be “made” or “manufactured.”
- Sports, mutants, hybrids, and transformed plants are comprehended; sports or mutants may be spontaneous or induced. Hybrids may be natural, from a planned breeding program, or somatic in source. While natural plant mutants might have naturally occurred, they must have been discovered in a cultivated area.
- Algae and macro fungi are regarded as plants, but bacteria are not.
While times vary from one technology center to another, the approximate time to a final disposition range from between 23-30 months from the date of filing.
This may seem like a long time, but the average time has decreased significantly in the last few years. Additionally, there are mechanisms for prioritized or expedited examination that may be available to you. Talk with HPKD today to see if you qualify for such a program.
Patents filed on or after June 8, 1995, can remain in force for 20 years from the filing date of the earliest application on which the patent claims priority.
For patents filed prior to June 8, 1995, the term of a patent is either 20 years from the earliest filing date as above, or 17 years from the issue date, whichever is longer.
Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) is to accommodate for delays caused by the US Patent Office during the prosecution of a US patent application. The total PTA is added to the 20-year lifespan of the patent.
Yes, in the last five years the United States has gone through some of the largest changes in patent law since its implementation under Article 8 of the Constitution.
On September 16, 2013, the US federal government put into effect the America Invents Act which changed the US from a “first to invent” structure to a “first to file” system that is more commonplace throughout the rest of the world.
On June 19, 2014, the Supreme Court rendered a decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International that drastically changed the US’ interpretation of what constitutes “patentable subject matter”. This case has caused a massive shift in the manner in which software-related US patent applications are interpreted.
These changes and their aftershocks are still actively changing the landscape of patent law in the US. Now, more than ever, it is key to have the understanding of the law and its effects on the patent system necessary to best pursue and protect your interests.
We help provide to key to solving your patent issues!
In patent law time is of the essence. Under the new system the first inventor to file gets priority, so filing first is key.
Innovation is valuable. Protect your investment into research and development of your technology. Don’t let others steal your valuable business assets. Take proactive action and protect yourself!
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