Patent protection is essential for safeguarding your invention. Registering your intellectual property is important to prevent another entity from taking your idea and putting it forth as their own or profiting from it. While you are not required to work with an attorney to file a patent, doing so is wise because the process is complicated, and you will benefit from a professional’s guidance and experience. Trust Larson and Larson in the Tampa Bay area when you have an idea you want to protect. Before starting, here are a few things that you should know about patents.

There are Different Kinds of Patents

Different kinds of patents protect inventions of many different types.

  • Utility (Nonprovisional). This covers the function of an invention such as a device, machine, system, or process. This is the most common type of patent protection. Once you apply, you can use a ‘patent pending’ status.
  • Design. This covers the appearance and aesthetic of an invention. This includes the shape, design, general appearance, and ornamentation. If another invention has a similar function, it can still be patented if the design is not too similar.
  • Plant. This covers the invention of plants reproduced through asexual reproduction.

Some creations span multiple areas, making the patent protection process more difficult. Therefore, it is best to consult with an intellectual property lawyer at Larson and Larson in Tampa Bay for guidance.

Patents Do Not Last Forever

Inventors in Tampa Bay need to know that, from the date you file your application, your coverage is temporary. Depending on the type of patent protection, you may have coverage for fourteen to twenty years.

  • Utility: lasts twenty years from the date of filing and inventors must pay maintenance fees to maintain its validity.
  • Design: lasts for fifteen years from the date of issuance with no maintenance fees.
  • Plant: lasts twenty years from the date of filing and does not require maintenance fees.

The Patent Application Process Can Take A While

To apply for a patent, you will first meet with an attorney in Tampa Bay to discuss a plan for protecting your invention. Then, your attorney will draft an application that together, you will review. Next, you will make any necessary adjustments or add details. Finally, you will file the application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). While this seems rather simple, it can be complicated. The application itself can take quite a bit of time to prepare. The USPTO requires applicants to be as detailed as possible regarding your invention, and requests diagrams, drawings, and technical specifications to describe your idea.

Once you file the application, a USPTO examiner will review it. From the time you file to the time someone reviews your application can take months. If you receive a rejection, you can appeal the decision, but this will add to the timeline. Overall, it can take months to years, so be prepared to exercise patience.

Trust Larson and Larson for Patent Protection

If you want to apply for patent protection, trust the law firm of Larson and Larson in the Tampa Bay area for assistance. Call us today at (727) 546-0660 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.