It is quite imperative for inventors and companies that bring out new products to be able to protect their inventions. His is why they need the services of patent firms that specialize in providing patent and application protection as this helps them in protecting their intellectual property from pilferage.
Getting a patent is not a very simple process as it could be quite long drawn out (as we learned by patenting our universal drink holder). There are quite a few process and procedural steps where the patent application is scrutinized by the patent examiner and clarifications sought from the inventor. The process starts with the inventor making an application for a patent, and the application as well as the invention being scrutinized to ascertain as to which part of the invention can be patented. If the patent application and the invention stands up to scrutiny, a patent is granted for a pre-defined period of time.
There are all kinds of inventions that are of varied scope. Some inventions do nothing more than add a concept to the vast body of concepts that exist from earlier. Take for instance a car video game. There could be a host of ideas and features like the car being turbo boosted or even damage to the car in the event of collisions. To this, if you add the novelty of showing how the racer is progressing on a race track map, this idea of racer display on the map could well be patented. Those who are still not prepared to file for a full fledged patent can file a ‘provisional patent application’. The advantage of patents is that these can catapult young inventors to global fame and name, not to mention the monetary benefits that accrue from it.
When filing for a patent application, it makes sense to submit formal drawings of the invention. These drawings help in projecting the image of the invention in all its distinctiveness and uniqueness. These drawings are prepared by trained draftsmen, who have long years of experience in this field. Once the idea of the invention has been conceived, design patents are prepared, which are an aesthetic representation of the form of the invention in question. The tenure of design patents is generally 14 years.
There are other kinds of patents which are of the nature of utility patents. These patents are able to protect the use of machines, medicines, components and computers in addition to ingredients which add to the utility of the invention. These patents are handed out for novel machines or even processes and are distinct from design patents that are appropriate for inventors of new manufactured articles. The concept of provisional utility patents is rather rare and not apt at an elementary level.
Manufacturers also have a great utility for patents because they invest huge sums and need to protect the uniqueness of their invention. The idea behind giving a 17 year manufacturing patent is to reward innovativeness as it is beneficial to consumers. While unrestricted monopoly is not beneficial, the idea of a 17 years patent seems to be a kind of middle path. Inventions that come prior to an invention are know as ‘prior art’. The way to get a patent on your invention is to prove that your innovation is quite distinctive and is a significant improvement on the prior art.