There are many types of intellectual property rights, patent also happens to be one of them. Patent is an absolute right, which is provided for an invention. In this article we will be discussing on understanding various types of patents and giving you a general synopsis on patent application process.
In reference to an invention, it is usually either an invention of a product or a process. Under patent it is important that the invention provides a practical solution to a problem. In terms of process, you should provide a new or unique way of doing something. In most countries, patent rights fall under private law and the patent holder must sue someone infringing the patent in order to enforce their rights. In some industries patents are an essential form of competitive advantage; in others they are irrelevant.
There are three kinds of patents under the Patent Law of the United States:
- Utility patents,
- Design patents, and
- Plant patents,
- Provisional patent.
Each type of patent provides for its own kind of protection depending on its different eligibility requirements. “However, it is also possible for one discovery or invention to potentially have more than one type of Patent Protection available for it. Now, let us understand this situation with an example – suppose a person invents an object, and he or she is willing to patent both the design and the functional features of that object. In this scenario, the inventor would require applying for two separate patents, both a design and utility patent.”
Utility Patent: A utility patent is a patent that covers the creation of a new or improved—and useful—product, process, or machine. As provided by 35 U.S.C. § 101, an invention is “useful” if it provides some identifiable benefit and is capable of use and “useless” otherwise.
Design Patent: “A design in legal terms refers to the surface ornamentation of an object, which can include the configuration or shape of an object. For obtaining design patent protection, the inventors or innovators need to ensure that the design is inseparable from the object. Although the design and the object need to be inseparable, a design patent only protects the appearance of the object. If a person is willing to protect the structural or functional features of an object, he or she must file a Patent Application for a utility patent as well.”
Provisional Patent: A document called provisional patent application (PPA) is issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that facilitates safeguarding new invention from being duplicated during a 12-month period before a formal patent application is filed. “It is intended to give an inventor time to pitch the idea, test its commercial feasibility, or refine a product before committing to the expensive and time-intensive process of a formal application. The “patent pending” label on a product indicates that a provisional patent application has been submitted.”
Plant Patent: A plant patent is acquired for distinctive characteristics of plants. A plant patent can help an inventor secure higher profit and the same is granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to the inventor or the inventor’s heirs.
Overview of Patent Process
Step 1: First determine whether your invention is invention or not and not just mere discovery.
Step 2: Determine whether such invention can be patented or not under the said law.
Step 3: Decide on what kind of intellectual property protection you require.
Step 4: As ascertained earlier there are three kinds of patents, and accordingly one needs to decide on what kind of patent is required.
Step 5: requires you to start filling for an application and accordingly your required to pay a certain amount of fees. This can either be done by going to a Patent’s office or an only application submission is usually available.
If the application is incomplete or any false information is filled, it may be returned. The same needs to be rectified at the earliest time period provided. “Once your application has been accepted as complete, it will be assigned for examination.
Your examiner will review the contents of the application to determine if the application meets the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 111(a).
- If the examiner does not think your application meets the requirements, the examiner will explain the reason(s). You will have opportunities to make amendments or argue against the examiner’s objections.
- If you fail to respond to the examiner’s requisition, within the required time, your application will be abandoned.”
If there are continuous rejected application, one can always appeal the same in court of law. if you want to make a patent applicable worldwide, then “The Patent and Cooperation Treaty (PCT) allows you to make a single international patent application that has the same effect as national applications filed in separate PCT states. In a nutshell, you benefit from one application, in one language paid for in one currency.”
To know more on intellectual property rights, refer to Layman Litigation Intellectual Property Archives – Layman Litigation
 Patent - Wikipedia  Understanding the Different Types of Patents under the Patent Law of the (kashishipr.com)  Utility Patent Definition (investopedia.com)  Bedford v. Hunt, 3 F. Cas. 37 (C.C. Mass. 1817) ("The law...does not look to the degree of utility; it simply requires that it shall be capable of use....")  Understanding the Different Types of Patents under the Patent Law of the (kashishipr.com)  Provisional Patent Application (PPA) Definition (investopedia.com)  Plant Patent: Definition & Overview (investopedia.com)  Patent process overview | USPTO  Patents (wipo.int)