Patents are important for securing rights to your creation and protecting it from misuse by others. They grant certain exclusive rights to the patent holder while benefitting the public by increasing the overall store of knowledge.
Birdwell & Janke, LLP can help with all of your patenting needs, whether you’re a thriving business or an individual looking to finally make your hard work official. Our knowledgeable intellectual property lawyers can give you advice regarding patent law and the protection of your inventions, as well as opinions on patent infringement, clearance and validity.
We also handle technology transfer agreements, inter partes and ex parte proceedings in the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO), patent dispute resolution and litigation, help with patent application preparation and prosecution, and patent appeals.
Utility patents are the most common types of patents available. They are granted for new discoveries or inventions of a useful machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter or process, including new and useful improvements of existing articles. Utility patents protect the structure and function of an invention, and typically have a life of 20 years from the date of filing the first related (nonprovisional) patent application.
You may have heard of provisional and nonprovisional patents. To put it simply, provisional “patents” are nothing more than a temporary patent application that allows you to make a “priority claim” in a nonprovisional patent application that must be filed within 12 months of the provisional. Thus, these provisional patents are not patents at all, but merely a sort of placeholder to secure certain rights before the official nonprovisional patent is ready to go. Most patents filed with the USPTO are nonprovisional utility patents. Whether a provisional or nonprovisional patent is more beneficial to you depends on the level of protection you require for your intellectual property, and how soon you need it. Speak with one of our knowledgeable lawyers today to discuss what type of patent is right for you.
Along with utility patents, design patents are among the most popular type of patent applied for in the U.S. Unlike utility patents, design patents grant protections for the design of a product or machine, rather than the product or machine itself. As stated on the official USPTO website, an article’s design includes “the visual characteristics embodied in or applied to an article.” In short, design patents protect the ornamental and nonfunctional aspects of the same inventions that can be protected by utility patents, and for the most part claim the invention by way of drawings depicting the claimed design.
There are a total of eight elements you must include with your submission for a design patent. These include a preamble that acts as a sort of introduction, a cross-reference, a statement regarding any federal sponsorship, a description of the drawing’s figures, a single claim, drawings or photographs of the design and an executed oath or declaration. The drawings or photographs of your design are the most important part of your application, so it’s important you make sure they’re clean and complete with nothing left to the imagination. Your drawings or photos may be in black and white or in color. For further details about what your design patent application must include, visit the USPTO’s website.
Because of the nature of design patents, they’re typically much less costly to prepare than utility patents, and don’t require fees to maintain like utility patents do. Design patents have a typical life of 14 years from the initial date of filing.
Not to be confused with patent litigation, patent prosecution is the interaction between an applicant or his/her representative and the patent office in which the application was submitted. Once a patent application is submitted, an official examiner will be assigned to review it, and ultimately determine whether or not the patent will be granted. This process can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months, so filing as soon as you’re ready is in your best interest.
Because the patent prosecution process is so time-consuming and often costly, seeking a qualified patent lawyer to help you file is often also in your best interest. The ability to recognize and write claims that capture the specifics of your invention is a crucial characteristic in the patent attorney you choose. At Birdwell & Janke, LLP our attorneys are highly skilled in all areas of intellectual property law, especially patents. We have an extensive technical background that yields a deep understanding of what is novel and discernible about your invention. We have the skill required to claim your invention in an elegant way that not only protects its full scope, but also allows it to withstand a potential validity attack.
When you choose the lawyers at Birdwell & Janke, LLP for your patent needs, whether it be help with an application, patent prosecution or patent litigation, you can rest assured you’re getting the experience and knowledge you need to secure your creation. Your invention is just as important to us as it is to you, so let us help you protect it – call our skilled attorneys today.