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Utility Patent Properties

What can be Protected Inventions - machines, articles of manufacture, new processes, compositions, new uses, methods of doing business, algorithms if they affect a process or hardware, new non-human animals, new bacteria, certain new plants
Who can Obtain Protection Inventor
Requirements for Protection Useful, Novel and Non-Obvious
Bars to Obtaining Rights Certain disclosures or uses, Certain offers to sell, Publications, Earlier Inventors, Illegal or Immoral, Nuclear Weapons
Scope of Protection Prevent others from making, using, selling or importing your invention. Allows patent owner to control price and availability of the invention
Area of Protection USA - but prevents importation of infringing articles (complete or disassembled) Foreign Countries if a foreign patent is obtained - but not covered by US Patent
How are Rights Obtained With Approval and Registration by the US Patent and Trademark Office
Duration of Protection 20 years from date of filing - NO renewal terms available
How Long to Obtain 1 - 3 years average
Average Cost to Maintain Maintenance fees due at 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 years from issuance ($445, $1025 and $1575 for small entity)
Registration Required Yes
State Protection Available No
Basic Theory Can’t protect the idea just the embodiment of the idea
Is Use Required No - but must have a working model or completed design documents
Is Notification Required No - but if the Patent Number is not displayed then damages from an infringer may only be obtained from date of notification or filing of law suit
Are Rights Assignable Yes both assignable and licensable
Test for Infringement Infringing article literally contains every element of the claim OR the equivalent of every element. An element is the equivalent of another element if it performs the same function in the same way to achieve the same result.
Miscellaneous Notes


No common law rights are available- but first to invent may block a later inventor from obtaining patent rights in an identical invention.
Applications are processed in secret 50% reduction in fees for small entity inventors Patent is subject to interference by other inventors for 1st year after patent issues

Design Patent Properties

What can be Protected The Ornamental Design of an Article of Manufacture (not pure art)
Who can Obtain Protection Inventor
Requirements for Protection New and Original Design must be Non-functional and is part of but not removable from the article
Bars to Obtaining Rights Certain disclosures, Certain offers to sell, Publications, an Earlier Inventor
Scope of Protection Prevent others from making, using selling or importing your invention.
Allows patent owner to control price and availability of the invention
Area of Protection USA - but prevents importation of infringing articles (complete or disassembled) Foreign Countries if a foreign patent is obtained - but not covered by US Patent
How are Rights Obtained With Approval and Registration by the US Patent and Trademark Office
Duration of Protection 14 years from date of Federal grant - NO renewal terms available
How Long to Obtain 1 - 2 years average
Average Cost of Search Generally skipped or only performed in a cursory manner - $100 - $300
Average Cost to Maintain No Maintenance Fees
Registration Required Yes
State Protection Available No
Basic Theory Can't protect the idea just the embodiment of the idea
Is Use Required N/A
Is Notification Required No - but if the Patent Number is not displayed then damages from an infringer may only be obtained from date of notification or filing of law suit
Are Rights Assignable Yes both assignable and licensable
Test for Infringement Designs look alike to the ordinary observer
Miscellaneous Notes Sometimes Copyright offers better protection