Friday, July 9, 2010

The Three Types of Patents, Utility, Design, and Plant

There are actually three different kinds of patents according to the US patent and trademark office. The three types of patents are Utility patents, Design patents, and Plant patents.

Utility Patents

Utility patents are the patents most people think of when patents are brought up. Utility patents are an intellectual property right granted by the United States Government of the to inventors “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.

This right was established over 200 years ago in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

Utility patents may be granted to any inventor who invents any new and useful process, article of manufacture, machine, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement. Examples of utility patents include electronic circuitry, automatic transmissions, methods of manufacturing things, chemical processes, vacuum cleaners, and darned near anything else that can be manufactured by a human being.

To obtain a utility patent there are four legal requirements; it must fit within one of the statutory classes, it must be useful, it must be novel, and it must be unobvious.

Design Patents

A design patent covers the unique specific look, shape, ornamental design, and that kind of thing. A design patent does not cover functional items. It must be purely aesthetic and if not must go in the direction of a utility patent.

Design patent applications consist mostly of drawings since there are no functional features to explain, just a design.

Design patents only have a single claim and are not difficult to get around by making simple changes. While a utility patent protects the way something works and is used, a design patent only protects the look of an article. An invention can have both functional and ornamental characteristics and thus get both a design and a utility patent in some cases.

The design must be original and not just duplicate of a well-known or naturally occurring person or thing. You will not be issued a design patent for subject matter that can be considered offensive to any ethnic group, nationality, religion, race or sex.

Plant patents

A plant patent is granted to an inventor who has invented or discovered an asexually (through the use of grafts and cuttings) reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. Algae and macro fungi are regarded as plants, but bacteria are not.

Both sexually reproducible plants and asexually reproducible plants can also receive utility patents.

Plant patents are subject to identical legal requirements that utility patents are subject to. Plant patents obviously fall within the plant statutory class, but other than that they must meet the same criteria as a utility patent.

Several of my inventions:

Selective Asparagus Harvester Story

Card Clips Story

The Hot Water Saver Story

Sealing Conduits Story

Invention I’m marketing online: Chilipepper Hot Water Demand System

Website for the asparagus harvester: