A patent is a set of exclusive rights to an invention granted by a government to an inventor or assignee for a limited amount of time in exchange for disclosing the details of the invention in the patent document. A patent gives the inventor or assignee the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing the invention covered by the patent. Without patent protection, products and technologies can be copied by competitors. Thus, patents are important for limiting or controlling competition, as well as for protecting technology developments and investments.
The most common type of patent is a utility patent, which covers functional aspects of products and processes. Other types of patents include design patents, which protect ornamental design (e.g., the visual design of objects that are not necessarily utilitarian), and plant patents, which cover new varieties of living plants. Some foreign countries may have petty patents (e.g., utility models).
A patent application includes one or more claims, which describe, define, and set forth the scope and limitations of the invention. The patent application also includes a specification. The specification must be in sufficient detail such that one skilled in the art or technology could make and/or use the invention. For a patent to be granted, the invention must be novel (e.g., the invention is not identical to technology previously disclosed), inventive (e.g., non-obvious), and useful or industrially applicable. Our firm can help our clients develop and protect intellectual property assets by preparing and prosecuting patent applications. In addition to procuring U.S. patents, our firm also works seamlessly in conjunction with foreign agents to secure patent protections in foreign jurisdictions.