Inventors need patent firms that can give them application and patent protection services. Having a patent law firm with experienced attorneys on your side can help you prevent others from using your intellectual property.
The patent process is generally very long. During this period, the application generally travels back and forth between the applicant and the patent examiner until both sides agree as to which part of the invention is worthy of a patent. The patent process generally involves filing a patent application and undergoing examination at the patent office. If examination is successful, a patent is granted and is enforceable for a limited term thereafter.
Inventions come in all shapes and sizes, and if your widget does nothing more than add one novel concept to a mountain of old concepts, that novel concept may just be patentable. So, for example, if your video game is an automobile racing game, you might use familiar concepts such as turbo boosting your car, damaging your car when collisions occur, and displaying a racer’s progress on a map of the race track, but at one point, displaying the racers was a novel idea, and perhaps patentable. Inventions which, if handled wisely, may fetch young and enthusiastic start-up entrepreneurs great success in terms of financial and global fame. Inventors not ready to file a full patent application are encouraged to file a “provisional patent application”. The provisional application provides more benefits and protections to inventors than the disclosure document.
Design applications require formal drawings (like of cup holders) when filed since the look of the invention as shown in the drawings is the basis of the application. A draftsman with many years experience in preparing formal patent drawings is usually available for this service to clients. Design patents (these patents are concerned with the aesthetic appearance of the invention) must be generally within one year of the idea’s conception. Design patents of this type tend to have a term of 14 years.
Utility patents, on the other hand, are applied for when the invention you wish to protect has a use such as a machine, ingredients, medicines, computers, etc. A provisional utility patent application is less common and not something you need to understand at an introductory level. Utility patents are granted for inventions such as new processes or machines. Not to be confused with design patents which are granted to inventors of new designs for articles that are manufactured.
Invention protection is important to manufacturers too. The manufacturer has the biggest investment at risk and they’ll take whatever steps are necessary to protect it. Inventiveness is good for consumers, monopoly power is bad for consumers, and we reward inventiveness by granting 17 years of monopoly power. It’s someone’s idea of a compromise between too little and too much. Inventions that come before your invention are referred to as “prior art”. The differences between your invention and the prior art need to be explained and defended in order for a patent to be granted.