The situation with the appliance for a patent and its receiving seems to be quite straightforward at the first glance. If your brainchild qualifies for a patent guardship, all you ought to do to keep copycats and infringers away from your creation is to collect and arrange all necessary documents, run a thorough patent research, prepare and file the request with USPTO office. More accurate insight on this topic you can find at “The basics of patents, copyrights and trademarks”.
The next issue that arises after the application filing is the designation of statuses your patent receives, your legal rights and the protection degree of the invention. To dispel the most common myths about how you can obtain profit from this kind of intellectual property protection, we will try to outline the difference among such popular notions as patent approved and patent licensed.
Patents at a glance
An issued patent grants an inventor exclusive property rights, although for a limited interim, making him the one and only owner of an idea or invention and stopping other from duplicating, using or distributing the creation without author’s acknowledgment under the fear of statutory responsibility.
To make the right choice during the enrolling process, it is useful to know that there are two key types of patents that cover different notions and provide different types of safeguard: utility and design patents.
You have come up with a novel, offbeat in the specific field and valuable invention for an operation method, a machine or manufacturing? The utility patent will be the right choice for you. If your invention covers a crisp or enhanced design for the manufacturing sphere, you may qualify for a design patent.
Patent pending or approved?
Right after the application submission you as an inventor may use the “patent pending” idea. The phrase means that though your innovation has not been approved by the USPTO office yet it has a kind of legal protection and if infringers would dare to copy it, they may be later liable for damages. Actually, there are cases when the application may stay pending from 1 to 3 years. During this period you may use the term when describing or marketing your idea to others simply to protect your creation from infringing.
Let’s imagine that you have supplied all required documents and sent an application. What to expect next? Your application will undergo a thorough examination, will be published for apposition and once qualified for the registration, you or your attorney will receive the allowance notification and later on granted certificate. In other words, it means that your patent is finally approved and you get the full and monopoly right to produce, use and distribute your invention.
Licensing to the third-party businesses is a very day occurrence in the modern economy. You may develop a breakthrough invention in a few weeks or months, patent it and later on grant or, better to say, license the patent rights not the invention itself to an existing manufacturer or business owner, receiving in exchange a license signing fee and royalties. Once the corresponding agreement is signed, your patent becomes licensed to an outside agency.
A tricky situation one may face comes in the following: an inventor does not have to wait until the patent will be approved. He can grant the patent license while the application is still pending, as long as he notifies the future holder about the patent status. It is a significant condition since not all patents get approved by the USPTO office and to avoid misunderstandings and not to hand over simply worthless patent it is highly recommended to laying your cards on the table before signing any contracts.
Patents grant you sole ownership over an idea or a technology for a predefined lapse of time, stop your competitors from any unauthorized issues and help to keep them at a distance. Although the patent system itself has its own benefits and flaws, pending or issued patent allows to secure at least some degree of insurance for your invention. With a solid legal background, you can continue to improve your invention or find suitable business partners to share your idea with. But it is a completely different subject matter, which we will discuss more precisely in one of our next articles. Do not miss the upcoming publication!