While your company may be poised to rake in record profits this year due to the unique nature of your new products, serious ruin may be just around the corner if you haven’t filed for the necessary patents to cover them. After all, other entrepreneurs may quickly jump in and all but “steal” your unique product designs if you haven’t sought adequate patent protection.                     

One of the main reasons new start-ups can often benefit from the help of either incubators or accelerators is because they’ll often point out the need for covering these types of legal bases, while also providing key information about conducting market research and obtaining adequate funding.                                                                                                                                      

Here’s some additional information about the types of patents your company may need.        

Three Basic Types of Patents and Provisional/Non-Provisional Patents                                                 

There are three main types of patents known as design patents, utility patents, and plant patents. Utility patents are the type most frequently sought out and they are usually granted to applicants who have come up with new processes, chemicals or machines. Design patents basically protect “the way an article looks.” A plant patent is granted to an inventor who has “invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.”                                                                  

Be sure to ask your Peachtree City business attorney for his advice on pursuing the patents you need.  He may refer you on to someone who regularly specializes in this legal field. Keep in mind that it may be advisable for you to initially file a provisional patent application (depending upon the exact nature of your product/discovery). While these only last for 12 months, they can prove useful while your lawyer is helping you file for a non-provisional patent. 

Additional Facts You May Need to Know About Patents        

  • Utility patents. “Approximately 90 percent of the patent documents issued by the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) in recent years have been utility patents, also referred to as “patents for invention.” These may last for up to 20 years;

  • Design patents. When one of these is granted “for a new, original, and ornamental design embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture, it permits its owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the design for a period of fourteen years from the date of patent grant.” (Note: This 14-year time period may change soon); 
  • Plant patents.  In addition to what has already been noted above, these patents can be granted in regards to asexually reproduced plants that can include “cultivated sports, mutants, hybrids, and newly found seedlings.” This type of patent can last for as long as 20 years; 
  • Filing fees. These may vary for utility, plant, and design patents -- from anywhere between about $45 to $280, with most utility patent fee applications falling between about $140 and $280;
  • Amount of time it can take to have a patent granted. This will naturally depend upon the type of patent you are seeking and the number of applications currently being processed. During the latter part of 2014, the USPTO estimated that “the average patent application pendency is 24.6 months.” 
You can find additional federal government information about patents by visiting this website page. 

To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact Shane Smith Law today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.

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