Patent FAQs

What can be patented?  Any new, unobvious and useful invention or ornamental design.

Do I need an attorney?  While an attorney is not needed, a skilled patent attorney provides insight, experience and guidance that most inventors lack.

How long does it take to get a patent?  Design patents frequently can be obtained in less than a year.  Utility patents frequently take at least two years and certain types of inventions, such as computer software, can take even longer.

Does a U.S. patent provide protection in other countries?  No, you need to file for protection in foreign countries.

How do I find a foreign patent attorney?  We have a network of attorneys in almost all major countries with whom we deal on a routine basis.

Do I need to pay anything after I get my patent?  Yes, the United States requires the payment of maintenance fees every four years after the patent is granted.  Most foreign countries require annual fees or annuities.

How long does my patent last?  Assuming all maintenance fees are paid, a U.S. patent has a term of 20 years from its effective filing date, subject to adjustment due to delays at the PTO. 

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