Patent Protection is an area of the law that seems to be vastly misunderstood by a lot of folks. For that reason, we decided to dedicate a post to explaining what Patents can and cannot protect.
What is a Patent?
A Patent is a legal license verifying the holder has the sole right to make, use, or sell an invention. The owner of the Patent has the sole right to decide who and how anyone can use the Patented product or process. The Patent applies to a product no one can manufacture, use, import, distribute or sell a product that infringes on your product without permission.
Patent’s do expire, generally after 20 years from the original filing date of the Patent application, so it is important to know and understand the effect your Patent expiring has on your business plan. When the Patent expires, the invention or process enters the public domain. That means that anyone can commercially use the Patent product or process without infringing on the Patent.
What can a Patent protect?
Patents can protect ant type of invention in any field. An invention can be a process or a product. Many inventions contain numerous patented products, a laptop computer for example who often contain hundreds of patented inventions.
What does a Patent not protect?
Patents do not protect ideas. Generally for a product or process to be Patent eligible it must:
- Be New – the invention or process must not already exist.
- A Result of Invention Activity – the innovation would not have been obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the field.
- Capable of Industrial Application – it must have a practical application, it must be useful now.
How can I get a Patent?
You must apply for a Patent. In the application you must provide the technical information that sets your invention or process apart from anything else that has been previously done.
Can I let other people use my Patent?
Absolutely, you can license your Patented product or process out to use. You and the other party can set the terms for how the product or process is to be used. A Patent attorney can help make sure that your Patent is protected and that the license is used as intended. It’s also possible to sell your Patent. This would transfer your rights to the Patent and its use to another party.