|Protects how the invention works.||Protects the shape of the invention only.|
|Can stop someone from making the invention, regardless of the invention’s shape.||Does not stop someone from making the invention if they make it with a different exterior shape.|
|Must explain how the invention works and how it is put together.||Cannot explain how the invention works and how it is put together.|
A utility patent and a design patent are not mutually exclusive, which means you don’t choose one or the other. You can and may need both as they protect different aspects of an invention. Continue Reading
To properly write a provisional patent application, it should have 1) a complete description of how the invention works and 2) a set of technical drawings that help explain how the invention works. The key concept is that a provisional patent application must fully describe how the invention works, including the components that make up the invention and how the components are arranged. If any portion of the invention is not clearly described, it is not protected! Continue Reading
You should file a patent application as soon as possible, and before disclosing your invention to the public. If you don’t file a patent application before disclosing your invention to the public, you must file a patent application within 12 months after disclosing your invention to the public. Continue Reading
With inventing, it’s all about who invented it first. The United States works on a system called first to file, which means it matters not who invented it first but who filed the patent application first. Filing a provisional patent application will get you a filing date, so you can hopefully be first to file before someone else.
A provisional patent application “saves the date” for 12 months. That date is saved for 12 months only. Before the provisional patent app expires, you need to file a non-provisional patent application to claim the date saved by the provisional patent application. If you do this, it’s like if you had filed your non-provisional patent app at the time of when you filed your provisional patent app. The non-provisional patent app will get the filing date of the provisional patent application. However, if you don’t file a non-provisional app before the provisional app expires, the date saved by the provisional patent app disappears.
A provisional patent application is less expensive to file because it has fewer requirements for filing than the non-provisional patent app. Many inventors file a provisional patent app first at a lower cost, then raise funds to file the full non-provisional patent app.
A provisional patent application can usually be filed faster than a non-provisional patent application because it has fewer requirements for filing than the non-provisional patent app. Many inventors file a provisional patent app first quickly, before showing their invention to the public on a website or trade show. Then, take the time to request a non-provisional patent application to be filed before the provisional patent application expires in 12 months after its filing.
A provisional patent application allows the
inventor legal use of the term “patent pending”, letting others know that you have already filed for a patent application.
Keep in mind, however, that a provisional patent application is not a patent yet and you don’t have the legal right to sue anyone for patent infringement yet. It’s a “save the date”. Only after you file a non-provisional patent application and it is approved by the US Patent Office, will you have actual patent rights.
Your invention is protected in the sense that it is filed with the US Patent Office for 12 months. Anyone applying for a patent application of the same invention will be behind you in line and you will be first eligible to get a patent. However, you get this protection only if you file a non-provisional patent application before your provisional patent application expires 12 months after its filing. If you don’t file a non-provisional patent app before the provisional patent app expires, the filing date of the provisional patent app disappears and your protection is lost.
Not only does a provisional patent application save a filing date which can be used by a United States non-provisional patent application filed within 12 months, the filing date can also be used by most countries in the world. For example, you could file a patent application in Canada before your provisional patent app expires and that Canadian app would be able to claim the filing date which was saved by the US provisional patent application.
The provisional patent application is not examined which means the US patent office will not tell you whether your invention is unique enough to get a patent. Instead, the provisional patent app is a “save the date”, saving a filing date which can be used by a non-provisional patent application you file later, within 12 months of when you filed the provisional patent app.
Amazon recently launched what they call the Amazon Brand Registry which allows sellers selling products under their own unique brand to register that brand and claim ownership of it. There are several advantages to registering which isn’t the focus of this article, but basically if someone sells product under your brand, you can tell Amazon to remove it since you own that brand. The key though, is in order to register your brand in the Amazon Brand Registry, you must have a trademark registered with the US Patent & Trademark Office and more importantly, the trademark must be a standard character mark. Many sellers trying to register their mark have been rejected by Amazon because their trademark is not a standard character mark. Continue Reading
When you apply for a patent application, your invention is compared to prior art. If the patent office examiner assigned to your patent application considers your invention too similar to prior art, the patent examiner may decide to reject your patent application. So what is prior art? Prior art is anything in the public that is already known. This could be existing patents that were filed before you, but it does not have to be. Prior art could be patent applications that were rejected or pending, or it could even be a publication, journal, or website. Continue Reading
A patent search should be performed prior to filing a patent application. First, it tells you how likely a patent application will be approved for your invention. You don’t want to spend time and money on a patent application if the chances of approval are low. Second, it gives you an opportunity to work around existing inventions and increase your patentability. By seeing inventions that are similar to yours, you have the opportunity to improve upon those other inventions and increase your invention uniqueness. You are then able to file a patent application for the most unique and improved version of your invention, increasing your chances of patent approval. Continue Reading
A trademark class is a category in which a trademark is put into. Each class covers certain similar goods or services which the trademark covers. For example, class 25 covers clothing. If you apply for a trademark and tell the trademark office that your trademark will be used to represent shirts, for example, your trademark will be put into class 25. You can potentially get a trademark for a name that someone already has a trademark for, if you apply for a different class. Continue Reading
There are 45 trademark classes which help the US Trademark Office group trademarks into what goods or services they cover. Here we list them all. Continue Reading
A patent filing date is the date the Patent Office acknowledges as the date you applied for a patent on your invention. It is important because it establishes who should get the patent first, or what we call priority. Who has the first priority to get a patent for an invention if two people apply for a patent application on the same or similar invention? That is determined by who has the earlier filing date. However, the patent filing date of your patent application could be different from the date you actually filed your patent application, resulting in the difference between the actual filing date versus the effective filing date. Continue Reading