The innovative spirit has always been the source of success and progress in any society. That is why the government has set up patent laws to protect the ideas and work of inventors. Patent laws ensure that people are free to continue to explore new methods of doing things without being vulnerable to those who may wish to profit from their work. With a patent, the inventor has the right to exclude other people from producing, using, or selling the invention during the term of patent, which in many cases is 20 years from the date the patent is filed. These exclusive rights, granted by the government, are in exchange for the details of the invention to be shared with the public in hope that others may benefit from the knowledge.
The process of obtaining a patent is not easy. There are vast numbers of laws governing this area. This makes it difficult for the average person to understand. That is why many people, as well as major companies, must obtain the legal aid of a patent professional. A patent attorney is a practicing lawyer that has specific knowledge of patent laws. These persons, therefore, can represent clients in obtaining patents and all procedures and matters relating to the patent law. The year the first patent was issued by the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was in 1790. Since then, an estimated 62,000 people became a licensed patent attorney. In order to become a patent attorney, individuals must take and pass the Patent Office Bar Examination.
A patent attorney can help those inventors obtain a patent from the government. However, a patent attorney cannot obtain a patent for an idea or suggestion. Instead, the patent office only grants patents to those that can provide a complete description of their original invention. For this reason, many patent attorneys have a technical degree. Not only will they be able to do the necessary research to prove that your invention is in fact original, but a patent attorney will also be able to write up the complete and technical description of your invention that is required by the patent office.
There are three types of patents:
Utility Patents- A utility patent is a patent that given to an individual who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement.”
Design Patents- A design patent is given to anyone who “invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.”
Plant patents- A plant patent is granted to anyone who “invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant”