In many cases, a business’s competitive edge over its competitors often lies with its own technological advancement. Thus, any newly created technological device or mechanism must be protected accordingly. That is why it is vital to obtain utility patents. Utility patents are a type of patent that are granted for inventions that provide a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement. If granted a utility patent, owners will have exclusive rights over their invention and thus can prevent others from producing, selling, or using their work. In exchange for these legal rights granted by the government, the government will make your work public. This is done so others will not infringe on your work as well as to help to promote future technological advancements. These rights are protected by statute and can last up to 20 years from the time the patent application was filed.
It should be noted that individuals cannot patent a mere idea or theory. All utility patents are only for tangible objects that can be shown to be useful, original, and not obvious. This means that the invention cannot already be patented or in use by others already in your country, nor can it be patented in a foreign country. The first two requirements, useful and original, are not hard to demonstrate. However, the last qualification, not being obvious, for utility patents can be the more difficult requirement to prove, since this requirement is subjective. Laws in foreign countries tend to have similar requirements for utility patents. In order to prove that your invention fulfill the needed requirements, all those who wish to obtain a patent must provide in detail a description of the invention. This description includes an abstract, description of your invention, drawings and diagrams of the invention, and a list of claims of what makes your invention unique. While requests for utility patents are being processed by the U.S. Patent Office, all literature and product information relating to the invention can be labeled “patent pending”. This will inform the public that patent protection is being sought after.
Obtaining utility patents are not an easy process. This is especially true when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regularly proposes and create new rules and initiatives in attempt to make the patent approval process more efficient and promote innovation. As a result, many individuals as well as business often hire a patent professional. Patent professionals know patent laws and can represent cients through the entire patent process. In addition, these professionals typically have a technical background, thus allowing them to understand your work.