A patent is a patent is a patent. False! There are many different subcategories of patents. This article demonstrates the 3 main types of invention patents:
1. Utility Patents (cover new and useful inventions such as mechanical devices, electronics, medical devices, biotechnology, gadgets, and processes for making things).
2. Design Patents (cover new and ornamental designs of products (articles of manufacture) such as containers, furniture, toys, or housewares).
3. Plant Patents (cover new and distinct plant varieties such as flowering plants, vegetables and fruit trees).
In the United States, if the inventor makes an offer to sell, makes a sale, or publicly discloses the invention, the inventor has one year from the earliest of those events to file a US patent application. Otherwise, an inventor will lose their US patent rights.
If an inventor makes an offer to sell, makes a sale, or publicly discloses the invention before filing a patent application he/she will likely lose their rights to file in foreign countries. WARNING: Don’t assume you know exactly what category your patent falls under. Sometimes there can be a very fine line between certain types of patents.
TIP: Try not to spend much time determining exactly what type of patent you should file for. This is one of the responsibilities of your patent attorney. Don’t be the patient who self-subscribes his/her illness on the internet, and then walks into the doctors office preaching to the doctor what they have! Same holds true for patents and intellectual property.