The Utility Patent: What is it and what does it protect?
Utility patents are legal ways you can protect your creations and inventions. They are valuable to inventors and designers because they give ownership and exclusive rights to produce their inventions or creations. In this article, we’ll go in-depth about this patent – what it covers, what it protects, and how you can apply for them.
What is a utility patent?
According to The United States Patent and Trademark Office, a utility patent protects the way an article is used and works. Meanwhile, a design patent protects the way an article looks. Basically, it gives inventors incentives to further innovate. The patent recognizes their inventions and protects them from being replicated without their consent. Moreover, they may also reap financial gains from their invention or patent.
How does it differ from a design patent?
As the term suggests, a design patent protects an article for its aesthetics or how it looks. If your concern is mainly about other companies imitating the way your product looks, a design patent is the one you should apply for. Meanwhile, if your main worry is competitors copying the features of your product, you should go for a utility patent.
Examples of a utility patent
This type of patent applies to a variety of inventions. This includes computers, machines, engines, and digital processes like software. Moreover, it also includes manufactured articles like a mop, teapot, etc. Pharmaceuticals are also candidates for this type of patent.
However, you should check your country’s patent laws to check which articles are eligible for this patent.
What’s included in the patent?
This type of patent differs from others as it is more comprehensive. It includes a descriptive specification, sketches, and a summary of your creation. Illustrations may include specific descriptions, details, and processes involving your invention.
It’s important to effectively communicate your invention on paper so that others may use your invention on the get-go. For example, if you invented a drug, you must detail how it was formulated and manufactured. That way, other chemists, chemical engineers, pharmacists can make the same drug without additional tests or experimentation.
What does it cover?
This type of patent confers wider and broader protection as opposed to a design patent. Claim coverage is typically wider, as well. It protects you from other companies and manufacturers from making, using, distributing, importing, or selling your invention without your consent. You may file a patent infringement lawsuit if any of these is performed.
Infringements are determined through claims and the costs of litigation are usually higher. The patent is effective within 20 years from the filing of the patent. This may vary depending on the country you filed the patent in.
When it comes to creating and inventing products, it’s not only enough to come up with a good product and sell them to as many customers as possible. You need to know how to protect your valuable assets to make sure you’re getting all the credit and revenue for your ideas and creations.