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Types of Patent Applications

Utility Patent Application 
A Utility Application is the most common type of patent application.  The Utility Application fully describes your invention and almost always includes professional drawings.  A Utility Application is appropriate for most types of inventions, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, or business methods.  Generally, a Utility Patent is valid for 20 years from the earliest claimed filing date.

Provisional Patent Application 
A Provisional Application is generally used when time is of the essence and you need to protect your rights before you disclose your invention.  Provisional Applications can be prepared more rapidly than utility applications and do not require professional drawings.  Provisional Applications are not reviewed by the Patent Office and will not mature into a patent.  Provisional Applications must be converted to a Utility Application within one year of filing if you want to move forward in the patent application process and retain your priority date.  A Provisional Patent Application provides a filing date which can be used to prove you invented your invention first.  A proper Provisional Application includes a full disclosure of your invention.  This is the critical part of a Provisional Application.  Filing a Provisional Application which lacks a proper description of your invention can result in not being able to rely on the filing date of the Provisional Application when it is converted to a Utility Application, which can result in a loss of rights.  For this reason, it is wise to call us as soon as possible to allow us to write a Provisional Application which will retain all rights in your invention as of the earliest possible date.

Design Patent Application
A design patent protects how something looks.  A design patent is useful when you want to protect an ornamental design.  Design patents do not protect how something functions, only the appearance.  Design patents have a life of 14 years from the date granted.

Plant Patent Application 
If you have developed a new variety of plant, such as a new type of flower, you can protect your rights to that plant with a Plant Patent Application.  Plant Patents have a life of 20 years from the earliest claimed filing date.

International Patent Application
A patent filed in the United States only provides rights in the U.S.  If you would like patent protection in other countries it is important that you make plans early to prevent losing your patent rights in other countries.  If you have made a public disclosure of your invention prior to filing a patent application, most other countries will not allow you to get a patent.  For this reason, it is very important to contact us early on in the planning stages of your invention to ensure that you don’t lose your rights.  We have the experience and resources to file applications on your behalf in foreign countries.

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