Our Founding Fathers knew that the promotion of society could only be achieved through individual intellectual achievements. Therefore, they rewarded inventors with a monopoly right for their innovative and useful contribution towards social growth. That reward, a patent, was carefully designed to balance the development of society against the individual’s reward. Therefore, a patent is a negative right which allows the inventor to prevent others from using his invention. The right does not allow the inventor to use the invention.
Thus, a patent is a right granted by law which gives an inventor of a novel and useful invention a monopoly right for a limited period of time, to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing the patented invention. Examples include machinery, algorithms, electronic devices and business processes. With respect to a patent, the timing of filing is vital. The inventor could be barred from obtaining a patent if it is not filed within time, twelve months from the first offer of sale. To protect the inventor’s rights, we recommend visiting with one of our experienced patent attorneys as soon as possible.
Patents may be provisional or non-provisional. A provisional patent is a patent application that acts like a date holder, holding your priority date until you file a non-provisional application. (See Provisional Patent Applications.)
Non-provisional refers to the fact that you are ready to apply for the patent and, if successful, have it issued. Within the non-provisional category, there are three main patent types: Utility, Design and Plant patents.
BENEFITS OF REGISTRATION
To receive any of the benefits of patent protection, the invention must be patented within the time provided by law. Failure to apply for a patent within the time allowed may result in the forfeiture of all patent rights, including the right to prevent others from making, using, importing, offering to sell or selling an embodiment of the claimed invention during the term of the patent, which if granted would be for approximately 20 years from the filing date of a utility patent and 14 years from the filing date of a design patent .
In addition to being necessary for preparing a patentability opinion letter, a search is recommended to prepare the patent application and to draft claims in a way which would give the broadest possible protection to the invention. While some may believe a patent can be filed without conducting a professional patent search, at the Intellectual Property Center we highly recommend conducting the patent search. While it may be easier to draft the patent without evaluating the prior art, it will not provide the greatest protection for you or your business as you integrate the invention into your business model.
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INFRINGEMENT & LITIGATION
A United States Patent gives the inventor the exclusive right to the invention claimed in the patent. Any unauthorized user of the invention may be sued by the patent holder. However, the burden is on the patent owner to prove infringement, which can be demonstrated in a number of ways, including literal infringement or infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. Literal infringement occurs if, when evaluating the claims of the patents, there is a correspondence between the claims of the patented device and the infringing device. Where a device does not literally infringe, it may infringe under the doctrine of equivalents. A device can infringe under the doctrine of equivalents, if it performs substantially the same function in substantially the same way to achieve the same result.
If you have a patent that you believe is being infringed, you should contact one of our patent attorneys to preserve your legal rights. Conversely, if another person or group is claiming that you are infringing upon their patent, you should contact one of our patent attorneys to assist you.
At the Intellectual Property Center, we can enforce your rights under the United States and International Patent laws to protect your intellectual innovation.
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