Patent Lawyer Charlottesville, VA
The Patent Process
Many people who have an intellectual property they want to get a patent for are unsure if they need to retain the services of a patent attorney or not. At Dale Jensen, PLC, our patent lawyers have been representing clients in obtaining patents and defending and litigating any legal action that arises because of that intellectual property for more than 10 years. If you are considering applying for a patent, it is critical to understand just how time-consuming and complex the process can be.
The Patent Process
Patents grant intellectual property rights to the individual or individuals who invented it. It allows those parties to bar anyone else from producing or distributing the invention for a certain time period. All applications and approvals go through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (UPTSO).
What Are the Three Kinds of Patents Available?
Many innovators believe that the process of inventing a new product or design begins and ends with the creation of the work itself. However, seasoned inventors and innovative businesses understand that the act of creation is only part of the process. In order to protect one’s work from infringement and oneself from accusations of infringement, the process of inventing something new is not truly complete until a legally enforceable patent has been secured with the assistance of an experienced Charlottesville, Virginia patent lawyer.
Only certain kinds of creative work are eligible for government-issued patent protections. If your work does not fall into any of the following categories, please consider asking an experienced Charlottesville, VA patent lawyer about any alternative intellectual property protections your work may be eligible for.
Plant patents are issued to inventors of new and distinctive plant species and hybrids. In order to be eligible for patent protection, a plant species must reproduce asexually, must not be an uncultivated “found” species and may not be tuber propagated. In addition to individual gardeners and hobbyists, these patents are often granted to nurseries and other plant-focused businesses.
Nine out of every ten patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are utility patents. If you are thinking about applying for a patent, chances are that you and your Charlottesville, VA patent lawyer will be applying for this kind of protection. New and novel machines, manufactured products and certain kinds of processes, chemical compounds and improvements to existing patented work may be safeguarded using utility patents. In order to be eligible for a utility patent, an invention must be useful, not “simply” artistic or interesting in nature.
Design patents are issued to individuals and businesses that create innovative designs for manufactured products. This protection is distinct from copyright registrations granted to creative authors, artists and other producers of original “works of authorship.” In order to qualify for a patent, an eligible design must be inseparable. For example, a classic Coca-Cola bottle (with its signature glassware impressions) cannot be separated from its design. Absent the ornamental glassware indentations, the bottle would simply be a bottle, not a distinctive Coca-Cola bottle.
Intellectual Property Guidance Is Available
If you have recently invented a new asexually reproducing plant species/hybrid, manufactured product or design of a manufactured product, please schedule a consultation with an experienced Charlottesville, VA patent lawyer today. The process of obtaining a patent is notoriously time-intensive and time-sensitive, so please do not delay. Until you and your attorney have secured a USPTO filing date via the submission of a non-provisional patent application or a provisional patent application (followed by the submission of a non-provisional patent application within one year), your work will not be protected against claims of prior art or acts of infringement. Once the team at Dale Jensen, PLC learns about your creative work, we can begin to help you protect that work and benefit from those protections.
The process of obtaining a patent can be a long and arduous one. It is not uncommon for the application to take a few years between the time you apply to the time it is finally issued. In most cases, it can take a minimum of one to two years after the application is filed before it finally begins the patent prosecution process. Patent prosecution is much different than criminal prosecution. It is also not the same as patent litigation. Patent prosecution is the part of the patent process that involves any communication between the patent examiner, the inventor, and the inventor’s legal representative.
It is fairly common for a patent to initially be rejected by the patent examiner. In fact, approximately 85 percent of patent applications are rejected. The good news is that more than half of those applications will eventually be approved.
One of the most frequent reasons why a patent is initially rejected is because the patent examiner feels that the patent application is trying to patent more than one invention in the same application. When this happens, the application will be labeled with a restriction requirement and the inventor is required to choose one invention in order to continue the application process. The applicant does have the option to file separate patent applications for the other inventions removed from the original application. If this is done, the UPTSO will allow those applications to have the same filing date as the original one.
It is crucial for an applicant to respond to any communication from the UPTSO in the required allotted time. Failure to do can also result in the application denial.
When a patent is approved, the UPTSO will issue a Notice of Allowance, which also requires a fee that needs to be paid within three months of that issue date. The inventor and their patent lawyer should also carefully examine the documents from the UPTSO to ensure there are no errors which could cause issues in the future.
If the patent application is denied, the inventor has three possible choices:
- File a request for reconsideration;
- File a request for continued examination, requesting the examination of the invention to continue;
- File an appeal of the rejection; or
- Give up on obtaining a patent.
Contact a Charlottesville, VA Patent Lawyer for Assistance
If you need assistance with a patent application, contact a patent attorney from Dale Jensen, PLC today. This process is complicated and requires the legal expertise of an attorney who has extensive experience in trademark and patent law.
Call a patent lawyer Charlottesville, VA clients recommend today for a free consultation.