What is a United States Patent?

A United States Patent grants to the Patentee an exclusive right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention throughout the United States or from importing the invention into the United States.

What are the various types of United States Patents?

There are several types of United States Patents. The two most common types are utility patents and design patents.

A utility patent protects a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition or any improvement thereof. This is the most common type of patent and it is what most often associate with patents.

A design patent protects a new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. As such, a design patent protects the ornamental appearance of an invention. As such, this is a somewhat narrower patent in terms of the scope of protection as compared to a utility patent.

Provisional Patent Application

A provisional patent application is an application to obtain a patent. It does not get examined by a patent examiner. The applicant has one year to amend the patent application to a utility patent application which must be based on the disclosure contained in the provisional application. If the utility application claiming priority of the parent provisional is filed within the one-year time window, the applicant’s utility patent application is afforded the earlier filing date of the parent provisional.

How long does a patent last?

The term of a United States Utility Patent for patent applications filed after June 8, 1995 is twenty years from the effective filing date subject to any statutory extension or reduction.

The term of a United States Utility Patent for patent applications filed before June 8, 1995 is seventeen years from the date that the patent issued.

The term of a United States Design Patent is fourteen years from the date that the patent issued.

Who is entitled to receive a United States patent?

The first inventor is entitled to a United States patent unless it was known or used by others or if the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to one skilled in the art.