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Patent Law - A Guide To Understanding Patents And U.s. Patent Law
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Patent law refers to the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling your invention for a limited time. An exclusive right is a very broad term, and many nuances in the law such as small changes to a patented idea to create a new invention.
Moreover, patents can be sold, licensed, assigned and even given away upon approval of the patent holder. United States patent law is derived from Article 1 section 8 clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which was implemented to allow Congress to promote the progress of science and useful arts.
Patents are apart of the intellectual property area of law that also includes copyrights and trademarks. Distinctively different from both, patents actually have a functional use. Additionally, patents cannot be obvious and must be novel, or a new invention.
One of the main distinctions to know is between a provisional and non-provisional patent. A provisional patent is more for a business that does not want to pay the fee to actually get a full patent. When you file for a provisional patent, you are essentially filing to hold your spot in line, for up to year, before deciding to file a non-provisional patent or not.
Generally, someone will file for a provisional patent if they would like to see if they even have a product worth going through the entire process of obtaining a full non-provisional patent. On the other hand, if you know you would like to patent your invention with certainty, then it is a good idea to go ahead and file a full non-provisional patent as soon as possible.
Applying for a patent is a fairly simple process procedurally, but it can have many challenges the more complex the invention is. Patents are filed through the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, and additionally can be filed internationally to protect your patent overseas. Under current U.S. patent law, a patent will last for 20 years from the date is was officially filed on, but this can be extended via petition.
Patents are typically only enforced through civil lawsuits, as a patent owner will seek monetary damages for infringement. The process of a lawsuit will start with a letter from the patent owner that will seek to prohibit the infringer from commercially using their invention. To prove such infringement, the patent owner must establish that the infringer is using the exact same invention or it is so similar that a normal person could not tell the difference.
Patents and patent law can be quite confusing and a little overwhelming for entrepreneurs, startups, to even public companies. It is always highly suggested that you consult with an experienced patent attorney to help you with any questions you would have regarding a patent, filing a patent, a patent search, and/or if someone has infringed on your patent.
For more information visit - https://www.upcounsel.com/patent-law
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