According to the United States Patent Office, a patent is “a property right granted by the Government of the United States of American to an inventor ‘to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States’ for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.” Essentially, when an inventor comes up with a new, innovative idea they want to patent their invention to protect their rights. Obtaining a patent from the government on an inventor’s new creation is a way of giving the inventor right’s to ownership over his or her new invention. For people who hold patents over inventions are given the exclusive rights to decide how their inventions are used and allow them to financially gain from their idea. The most important benefit to holding a patent is it gives the patent-holder the exclusive right to stop other people from producing the idea, and it can be used to stop others from selling or even using the invention. An important feature of a patent is that the only person who can apply for a patent is the actual inventor or inventors.

The United States Patent Office has designated what can and cannot be patented. Utility patents are provided for a new, nonobvious and useful: process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, and improvement of any of the above. In addition to the above names utility patents, patent protection is available for “ornamental design of an article of manufacture or asexually reproduced plant varieties by design and plant patents.” There are many things which cannot be patented, those include: “laws of nature, physical phenomena, abstract ideas, literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, inventions which are not useful or offensive to public morality.” In addition the USPTO states than an invention must “be novel, nonobvious, adequately described or enabled (for one of ordinary skill in the in the art to make and use the invention) and claimed by the inventor in clear and definite terms.”

In the United States, a utility patent has s 20 year duration from the date of filing the patent application, while a design patent has a duration of 14 years. It is important, today with the internet and rapid exchange of information to have your intellectual property rights protected. If you think of an invention, no matter how small or large, you should consider obtaining a patent. If you do not obtain a patent, anyone can take your idea and begin manufacturing it and selling it. Without you as a patent-holder, you will have no rights to enforce that it indeed was your idea.

A patent is an extremely important piece of ensuring that your invention is safe and that your rights as an inventor are protected. A patent will prevent other people from producing and selling your invention. If you are an inventor, please take the time to contact our office and discuss how to protect your intellectual property. Our firm offers a free consultation, which can be done over the phone or in person. We always suggest that you come to our office, which is conveniently located in Central New Jersey so that we can truly get to know you and what your intentions are moving into the future. Our firm is here to help you protect your rights.