Patent applications are the only way to protect your inventions legally. Patents prevent others from using, making, or selling your inventions. You can apply for a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to protect your intellectual property from theft. At Larson & Larson, we can help you through the application process to give you the best chance to secure an issued patent.
Finalize Your Idea Before Beginning an Application
Before you can submit your patent applications to the USPTO, you need to solidify your idea. To apply and receive approval, you will need to be able to describe all aspects of your invention. An experienced attorney knows what information the USPTO is looking for and can help prepare your submission. At Larson and Larson, we have extensive experience helping entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay area secure Intellectual Property protection for their inventions.
Check with the Patent Database Before Submitting Patent Applications
Once you have a solid concept of the invention, you need to make sure that your idea has not already been thought of. An intellectual property attorney in Tampa Bay can help you find existing patents and other published documentation to make sure that you are not pursuing an idea that is already disclosed. Even if not identical, the USPTO may reject ideas that are too similar to others in existence.
Three Types of Patents: Utility, Design, and Plant
There are three different types of patents: utility, design, and plant. They share some similarities, but their differences are the key to deciding which is right for you.
Utility patents are the most common for entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay. They are for registering patents that demonstrate:
- New and useful processes
- Compositions of matters
- Articles of manufacture
- Any new useful improvements thereof
Design patents are specifically to protect new, original, and ornamental designs of articles of manufacture. Essentially, the difference between utility and design is that utility focuses on how something works and its uses, while design focuses on the appearance.
Patent applications for plants can protect an asexually (without seeds) reproduced, distinct and new plant variety. Because of their free occurrence in nature, wild plants cannot be patented. Additionally, tubers like potatoes also cannot be patented. Some plants can be registered under utility, but the process is more difficult. However, ‘utility’ is generally considered a stronger level of protection.
Complete Your Patent Application
The USPTO offers two ways to apply: online and via mail. The USPTO strongly encourages individuals to e-file because it is faster, more secure, and wastes less paper. Therefore, there is a non-electronic filing fee if you choose to submit via mail. The online filing process is smoother with the guidance of an attorney in Tampa.
Finalized patent applications for a non-provisional utility patent must include:
- Utility patent application transmittal form. This lists all the elements of an application and requires inventor signatures.
- Fee transmittal form. This identifies the fees necessary based on the type of application, which includes basic filing, search, and examination fees.
- Application data sheet. This form lists bibliographic data about the inventor, domestic benefit, and more.
- Small and micro entity status forms. Applicants who qualify as a small or micro entity can benefit from certain discounts on fees.
- Specification. This part includes the title of the invention, cross-references to related applications, statements regarding federally sponsored research or development, references to sequence listings (if applicable), background information on the invention, a summary of the invention, a description of the drawings, an in-depth description of the invention, claims, and an abstract of the disclosure.
- Drawings. If necessary to understand the subject matter, patent applications must include drawings.
- Inventor oath/declaration. When applying, the submission requires an oath establishing that it is authorized by or made for the inventor, that the person/people in question are the original inventors, and that they face fines or imprisonment if there are any willful false statements included.
An intellectual property lawyer in Tampa can help ensure that you have all elements necessary for successful patent applications.
Choose Larson and Larson, P.A. in Tampa Bay
For an intellectual property law firm you can trust to help you with patent applications, choose Larson and Larson. We help Tampa Bay inventors protect their inventions through legal registration. Call us at 813-223-3226 or contact us online.