U.S. & International Patents
Patents are one of the main means through which individual inventors or corporate developers may protect their creative products, whether they are material goods or ideas (processes). The Registered U.S. Patent Attorneys at Peacock Myers, P.C. have helped hundreds of clients successfully prosecute patents, securing their intellectual property rights and safeguarding the profitability of their idea.
Types of Patents and Intellectual Property Rights
There are two basic types of patents awarded by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO):
Utility patents apply to intellectual property that has inherent usefulness.
Design patents protect the unique design of a functional item. Because a design may aid consumers’ recognition of the product and/or manufacturer, design patents may be essential to a one’s branding strategy.
In general, design and utility patent applications take one to three years to prosecute. To initially secure intellectual property rights during the process, you may file a provisional patent application, giving you “patent pending” protection for up to one year before following up with the more formal utility patent application.
Overview of the Patent Process
Although there is no statute requiring that a U.S. Patent Attorney file a patent application, expert legal counsel is often necessary to successfully navigate the complex process of patent prosecution.
In general, best practice calls for a patentability search to be conducted to identify competing patented products/processes and/or help demonstrate the need—i.e., utility—of the product or process. If the idea/invention is patentable, a provisional patent application is filed at the same time the utility or design patent application is being completed.
Once a design or utility patent application is filed, USPTO generally takes a year to review it and will likely issue an Office Action, meaning the application requires amending. Once the application is suitably revised, it will be resubmitted. If the patent application is rejected, the patent prosecutor may file a request for continued examination (RCE) or appeal the decision. The patent appeal is decided by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (formerly called Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences).
As improvements to the process or product are made, the patent prosecutor may also file continuation applications that may make additional claims and/or take priority over an application-in-process (i.e. bypass continuation, continuation in part, divisional applications).
Once a patent is granted, the intellectual property is protected for 20 years from the filing date (although extensions roughly equivalent to the time the application was in process may be granted). If a granted patent requires correction, the patent prosecutor may submit a reissue patent application, which is, essentially, a patent reexamination request to the USPTO.
International Patent Protection
By one year after you apply for a U.S. patent, you should also file for international protection if you may market your intellectual property protection abroad. To some extent, the process for international patents has been streamlined by the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). However, there are countries who are not treaty members.
Costs for Patent Applications
There is no simple formula to determine the overall cost for patent applications. There are some fixed filing fees, and costs for patent searches may be accurately estimated based on the type of product, idea and/or technology field. However, the total costs for patent applications may largely depend on the number of times the application must be amended and resubmitted, if the application requires reexamination or appeal, etc. Additional expenses may be incurred for international patents that require translations as well as any European patent in general.
Do You Need a Patent?
Patents may be the type of intellectual property protection you need to safeguard your idea’s marketability. However, you may need more than just a patent to fully protect your IP rights. The Registered U.S. Patent Attorneys at Peacock Myers, P.C. will help you develop a strategy to build a patent portfolio that provides comprehensive IP protection that responds to changes in your industry.
Peacock Myers, P.C. is a full-service intellectual property firm, and our attorneys have expertise in various scientific and technical fields. We are equipped to provide patentability opinions, conduct infringement reviews in addition to patent application prosecution and IP litigation services. To discuss your intellectual property protection strategy, contact Peacock Myers, P.C.
To successfully prosecute your U.S. and/or international patent application, you may need an IP lawyer.
Call 877-998-1506 to speak to a Registered Patent Attorney at Peacock Myers, P.C.
New Mexico’s Largest Intellectual Property Firm