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Utility Patents

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What Is a Utility Patent?

Utility patents are the most common type of patents. If you are seeking to get a patent on an invention or a discovery, chances are you will want to get a utility patent.

Can I Get a Patent on My Invention?

Assuming your invention meets the substantive standards of patentability, if it is a machine, an article of manufacture, or a composition of matter, you can probably claim it in a patent application.

  • Machine - A machine is something that performs some function and produces a desired result.
  • Article of manufacture - An article of manufacture is something that is made of raw or prepared materials that are given new forms or properties. A chair, for example, is an article of manufacture because it is made out of wood that has been shaped and put together to form something new.
  • Composition of matter - A composition of matter is a composition of two or more substances to create something new.

Can I Patent My Idea If It Doesn't Produce a New Product?

If you discover or invent a new way to do something, you may be able to get a process patent. This type of utility patent will prevent others from using your method, but will not prevent them from using a different method to create the same product. Some common processes that receive patents include:

  • A new method of making something , for example, a method of making cars
  • A new method of using something , for example, using a certain chemical compound as a pesticide
  • A new method of doing something , for example, a new method of putting in golf

If you discover a new way to do something that also produces a new product, you can seek a patent for both your process and your product. If you have a patent for both process and product, you can bar others from using your process for any purpose and can also bar them from manufacturing your product.

I Thought of a Way to Improve an Existing Product or Process, Can I Patent it?

If you discover or invent an improvement on an existing product or process, you may be able to get a patent for the improvement. However, because you do not have a patent for the original product or process, you will not be able to make, use, or sell the improved product or process. Similarly, the patent owner of the original product or process will not be able to make, use, or sell the improved version because you hold the patent on the improvement. If you or the patent owner of the original product or process wants to market the improved product, you will have to enter into some sort of licensing agreement.

Should I Consult a Patent Attorney?

The patent process is very intricate and complex. If you are considering filing for a utility patent you should contact an intellectual property lawyer specializing in patents An experienced patent attorney will determine if your invention or discovery is valid for patenting, and can help you through the application process.

Photo of page author Peter Clarke

, LegalMatch Legal Content Manager

Last Modified: 01-11-2017 09:15 AM PST

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