Types of Patents

There are three types of patents.  The two main types of patents used in the US are utility and design.  All U.S. patent applications, whether utility or design, must be filed within one year of the first offer for sale or printed publication of the invention.  The United States has adopted a "first to file" system, so delay in filing a patent application could preclude securing one on an important invention.

  • Utility Patents are granted on any new, unobvious and useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. Utility patents protect things and/or the way an invention works.
  • Design Patents are granted on a new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Design patents protect the way an item looks.
  • Plant Patents are granted on any asexually reproduced distinct and new variety of plant, including cultivated sports, mutants, hybrids and newly found seedlings, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.

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