Areas Covered: Any new and useful process, machine, electrical apparatus, article of manufacture, composition of matter (chemical compounds or recipes), software code, business method, or any new and useful improvement thereof may be eligible for a U.S. Patent.

Step 1: Patent Search

A patent search includes conducting a search of all prior US & foreign patents, and prior art publications which are relevant to the proposed invention; studying the patents (typically around 10 are uncovered); and preparing a detailed search report and attorney opinion letter for the client. We also provide full copies of all relevant patents uncovered in the search. The cost for the foregoing is approximately $2,200 for a standard case.

Step 2: Preparation of Patent Application

Utility Patent: approximately $4,950 (flat fee) for services in preparing and revising Application (complicated machines, heavy electrical, chemical or business methods can incur additional costs for services). A typical Application is about 30 to 50 pages typed, including the technical description and claims. The Application includes drafting a detailed description of the invention (all of its parts), as well as drafting the most important language of the Application, the Patent Claims. Additional disbursements we incur include the government filing fee ($800), and professional drawings by our draftsman ($95 per sheet).

Additional Fees: Several months later, arguments to the Examiner and amendments to the application (if required by U.S. Patent Examiner), government printing fee, government issue fee, & government maintenance fees for 3rd, 7th & 11 years after the patent is granted.

Design Patent: $1,800 or higher in services (a design patent only protects the ornamental appearance of an item, not the mechanical aspects). The patent essentially is composed of the formal drawings with some text describing the various drawings. There is no detailed text describing the invention.

Additional Disbursements include the filing fee ($380), professional drawings ($95 per sheet). A design patent search is available for approximately $950.

Duration of Protection:

Utility Patent: 20 years from filing date.
Design Patent: 14 years from date granted.

Area of Coverage:
USA and/or Country of Grant

PCT: (Patent Cooperative Treaty - Available For Multi-Country Filing)

Foreign Patents: Please call for information. We have associates Worldwide.

Renewable: No

Provisional Patent

A provisional patent is an "informal" patent application which is much shorter and simpler than a formal patent application. Specifically, once an inventor perfects an invention, the inventor has a 1 year grace period to file a patent application. If one feels he is running out of time on the grace period of 1 year, and is in danger of losing his rights to apply for patent protection, one can file a "provisional" or "informal" application, which is a "short" version of a formal patent application. This gives the inventor an additional year of time to prepare and file the formal application. The inventor then will still get the benefit of a priority filing date that dates back to the date the provisional application was filed. If a competing inventor later claims he was first to invent the invention at issue, one can claim priority back to the date the provisional patent application was filed, thus establishing his priority of rights in the invention. (In the U.S., the first to invent has priority, not the first to file, as in many foreign countries.)

Design Patent

The patent laws of the United States provide for the granting of design patents to any person who has invented any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.

A design patent protects only the ornamental appearance of an article, and not its structure or utilitarian features. (A utility patent covers structural or mechanical aspects). If a design is utilitarian in nature as well as ornamental (such as computer mouse design which is more comfortable to use), a design patent will not protect the design. Such combination inventions (both ornamental and utilitarian) can only be protected by a utility patent.

A design patent has a term of protection of 14 years from the date of issuance. Just like a utility patent, it cannot be renewed after 14 years, and so it is a limited monopoly. Just like a utility patent, one cannot sue to enforce a design patent until the date the patent is granted and issued.

An application for a design patent is much simpler than that for a utility patent. The specification section of the patent (text describing the invention) is rather short compared to a utility (mechanical) patent. Only one claim is permitted, and it also must follow a specific form. Unlike a utility patent, instead of having one or more claims explaining what is covered by the patent, a design patent has a single claim, namely, the drawings, not a detailed text describing the parts of the invention. The drawings in a design patent are similar to those in a utility patent, except that design patent drawings are created to show the ornamental features of the invention rather than its utilitarian aspects. Further, the drawings in a design patent are critical. If they are not done correctly to correspond with the item being protected, then the entire patent can be held by a Court or the Patent Office to be invalid.

If the application is allowable, the Patent and Trademark Office will issue a notice of allowance . As is the case with a utility patent, an issue fee (really a government tax) will be required for issuance and granting of the patent. However, the issue fee is only $280 ($560 for a large corporation), as opposed to $480 (or $960) for a utility patent. No fees are necessary to maintain a design patent in force.

Design patents and copyrights overlap in that they both cover aesthetic features of articles. Copyright is generally used for non-utilitarian articles (meaning articles which exist only for their looks and not for their usefulness). Examples of non-utilitarian articles covered by copyright include paintings, songs, books, and sculptures. Copyright does extend to utilitarian (mechanical) articles, but only to the extent the aesthetic features of the article can exists independently from the article. An example of this would be a sculpture which is used as the base of a lamp, or a painting which is applied to the side of an automobile.

Design patents are used to protect the new ornamental features of a utilitarian object. In cases where the aesthetic features themselves cannot be separated from the utilitarian object, a design patent can protect the ornamental features, while copyright protection cannot. For example, a design patent could protect the look of a computer CPU case, which would not be protectable under copyright law.

Utility Patent

A utility patent differs from a design patent in that it protects the mechanical, electrical or chemical aspects of an invention. Utility patents also may cover newly discovered uses of a known drug, methods of using an apparatus or using a chemical composition; articles of manufacture; a new process; certain methods of doing business; and software source code.

A design patent is more limited in its protection. It only covers the "ornamental" aspects or "look" of an item, not its utilitarian or mechanical aspects, described above.

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