Whether an inventor, entrepreneur or simply lucky, when you discover something new, you may want to ensure you reap the rewards. Without the appropriate protections, however, others may copy, steal or otherwise devise ways to benefit from your hard work. Patents provide one such type of intellectual property protection.
Through a patent, you may keep others from making, selling or otherwise using your invention without your permission. Understanding the different types of patents may help you petition for and obtain the intellectual property protection you need and deserve.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you may receive a design patent for the invention of an original, ornamental and new design of manufacture. For example, this may include products, tools or other objects made by hand or machine that get sold to consumers or used as components of other products.
Should you discover or invent a new and useful, article of manufacture, composition of matter, machine, process or an improvement of any such items, you may seek a utility patent to protect your property. In effect for a term of up to 20 years, utility or other patents may allow you to take legal action against those who seek to use your invention for their own gain without the appropriate authority.
You may obtain a plant patent for the reproduction of any new and distinct plant variety. In order get such a patent, you must invent or discover a variety of plant and asexually reproduce it. This may include, for instance, propagating the plant using rooting cuttings, tissue cultures, apomictic seeds, bulbs or other such reproduction modes.