A Patent Attorney To Help You Best Protect Your Ideas and Inventions
Serving the Pinellas & Hillborough County, Tampa Bay and Orlando Areas
WHAT IS A PATENT?
A patent is a document granted by the government to the first inventor of a new and useful invention. Once a patent has been granted to an inventor, an invention may not be lawfully manufactured, copied, used or sold without the inventor’s consent. There are three types of patents. First, a utility patent protects the structural and functional aspects of an invention. It protects how the invention works. Second, a design patent is directed to protecting the overall appearance and decorative aspects of an invention. It protects how the invention looks. Third, a plant patent protects an asexually reproduced distinct and new variety of plant including cultivated spores, mutants, hybrids and newly found seedlings, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. Plant patents are rather rare. The cost of pursuing patent protection varies depending upon the type of patent protection desired.
Click to see some of the recent patents handled by our office.
PATENT NOVELTY SEARCH
The purpose of a patent novelty search is to discover issued “prior art” United States patents and pending published patent applications which are similar to an invention. It is used to assist in determining whether patent protection for an invention might be available. Once the search is completed a written report is prepared detailing the results of the search (with copies of the most relevant patents found). The patent novelty search provides information required in order for the inventor to ascertain whether and to what extent patent protection is available.
Once the patent novelty search is completed, and the results are favorable, the next step in the process of obtaining a United States patent is the preparation and filing of a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A patent examiner will review the application as originally filed and make a determination whether to reject the application, or allow the issuance of patent protection on all or part of the patent “claims” as filed. In essence, patent claims define an invention similar to how a deed defines a piece of real estate. If there has been a rejection of the claims in the reply by the examiner (called Office Action) the inventor has a chance to respond to the initial or subsequent actions.
TYPES OF PATENT APPLICATIONS
There are two types of patent applications for utility patents. The first is a non-provisional application with detailed drawings and detailed written description. The second is a provisional patent application with more basic drawings and written description. Since patent claims are not needed for a provisional patent application the cost is generally lower. Once you have filed a provisional patent application you are “patent pending.”