A patent is a grant by the government of a special right to exclude others from making, using or selling the patented invention for a limited period of time. You can think of a patent kind of like a fence, where your invention is your property and the patent can serve as a "fence" around that property to keep others out.
In the US, there are three types of patents: utility, design, and plant.
- Utility is the most common type of patent and covers physical products, processes and methods, software, and chemical compounds.
- Design patents protect the ornamental appearance of an object and can be used to protect the aesthetic design of physical products and also can be used to protect the graphical user interface (UI/UX) aspects of software and mobile apps.
- Plant patents are the least common type of patent and are used to protect certain types of plant varieties.
On the utility patent side, there can be a provisional utility patent application (sometimes called a provisional patent application or PPA) and a non-provisional utility patent application (this is just a "regular" patent application). There is not a provisional application for a design patent.
Provisional Patent Applications
A provisional patent application is a placeholder application that establishes a filing date of the invention as described in the application and provides "Patent Pending" status.
Provisional applications do have some drawbacks though:
We can help you decide if a provisional is right for your specific situation and, if so, we can prepare a provisional that meets the stringent US Patent Office requirements.
Learn even more about the provisional patent application (PPA) and the process that we use here at Cygnet IP Law for PPAs by clicking here:
Non-Provisional Patent Applications
A non-provisional patent application is simply a "regular" utility patent application. Here are some pros and cons of non-provisional applications:
The drawbacks of a non-provisional application include:
Design Patent Applications
Design patent applications protect the ornamental appearance of an object and can be used to protect the aesthetic aspects of an invention and can also be used to protect the visual aspects of software and mobile apps such as the graphical user interface (UI/UX) features.