When an individual invents something, there is always a risk of this invention being copied by someone else. If this happens, financial or other rewards for coming up with this item might be enjoyed by a person responsible for copying, not the inventor. Before the introduction of patents, inventors were discouraged from their pursuits, because they didn’t want someone else to take credit for their work.
If you want to make sure no one will steal your invention, idea protection is crucial. You can do it thanks to patents. Their purpose is to protect the rights of the inventors and to reward them by providing a monopoly over the exploitation of the item during a limited period. In return, they are expected to unveil it, so that everyone can use it after the expiration of the patent.
To obtain a patent in the United States, you must disclose what the invention is, how it operates, and what the best way to make it is. This disclosure entitles you to a monopoly. By promising inventors a monopoly in return for disclosing items to the public, they are motivated to keep developing new technologies, and to profit financially from them. Without it, there would be only a few individuals interested in developing new inventions with no financial reward.
Which types of patents exist?
The first one is a utility patent. It applies to inventions with a functional aspect. It needs to “do” something, to be meant for a practical purpose. There are four categories of this patent, and if you want to be eligible, your invention must fall within at least one of them. The first group is a machine. Think of it as something which can accomplish a task by its physical parts interacting, for example, a fax machine or a can opener. The interconnection and combination of these parts are protected by the patent. The second category is an article of manufacture. It accomplishes a task without the interaction of physical elements, such as a paper clip. The third group is a process. It is a way of doing something by going through one or more steps. Each interact with a physical element is some way. It can be a new use for a known product. The last category is a composition of matter. Food items, for example, can be protected in this way.
The second type is a design patent. It protects the appearance of an object. If your invention is useful and has a novel shape, you can protect it. A person who wants to copy your idea can produce a version that doesn’t look substantially similar to yours.
The third type is a provisional patent application. It is meant for those individuals whose invention might not be ready to obtain a utility patent yet. You can fill out the provisional application, to establish your priority to the idea. As you develop your product, to the point it is eligible for a utility patent, you can convert this application to a full utility one. Contact professionals for more information. They will answer all questions you might have regarding the patent process and its types.