The United States Patent and Trademark Office
If you have an invention - and you think it is a good one - it will be copied sooner or later. It is then good business to get a patent for your invention to protect it. It is also recommended you get a patent expert to help you.
USPTO.GOV is the official website for the US Patent and Trademark Office.
USPTO and patent attorney
What the USPTO does is to grant patent and trademark protection to inventors or businesses in order to forestall unlawful use of their inventions by others for personal or commercial benefits. The patent or trademark application process is extremely extensive and complicated, thus the USPTO is recommending that applicants retain the assistance of a USPTO registered patent attorney or patent consultant, although USPTO registration for the attorney is not required. However, it is imperative that the patent attorney or consultant is well versed in all the different issues concerning the application process and remains updated at all times.
As a matter of fact, the USPTO will be updating the registration examination around January 31, 2012 regarding two new rules, prioritized examination of patent applications, along with new rules governing inter partes reexamination requests and ex parte appeals before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.
Some individual inventors may try to file on their own and hope to save themselves thousands of dollars in legal fees, but the problem lies in the complexity of the claim language or how drawings are presented in the initial stage. Failure to respond to a USPTO office action can also easily lead to abandonment of the application, and keep in mind that application fees are nonrefundable. What the USPTO does is definitely not easily comprehensible by anyone but an experienced patent attorney or patent consultant.
The trademark process is similar to the patent process and the first step required is trademark research to ensure that said trademark is not already used. Marks may not always appear in the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and may render the trademark application invalid.
Patent applications take an average of thirty six months to be granted, if they eventually are. To protect yourself during this time period, a competent patent lawyer may be able to secure a Patent Pending status through a provisional patent application on your behalf.
Even if inventors feels confident enough to file the patent application themselves, it would be advisable to secure the help of a knowledgeable patent attrney or patent consultant to ascertain that all the necessary steps are undertaken and time sensitive office actions are adequately responded to, considering what the USPTO does.
The USPTO's mission is to ensure that the Intellectual Property system contributes to a strong global economy, encourages investment in innovation, and fosters entrepreneurial spirit. Intellectual Property is an invention or creation embodied in the form of a patent, trademark, tradesecret, or copyright.
PTO headquarters in AlexandriaThe USPTO.gov cooperates with the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) as one of the Trilateral Patent Offices. The USPTO is also a Receiving Office, an International Searching Authority and an International Preliminary Examination Authority for international patent applications filed in accordance with the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
The mission of the USPTO is to promote "industrial and technological progress in the United States and strengthen the national economy" by:
administering the laws relating to patents and trademarks
advising the Secretary of Commerce, the President of the United States, and the administration on patent, trademark, and copyright protection
providing advice on the trade-related aspects of intellectual property.
Each year, the PTO issues over 150,000 patents to companies and individuals worldwide. As of February 2008, the PTO has granted over 7,950,000 patents.
The USPTO will accept patent applications filed in electronic form. As of March 2006, inventors or their patent agents/attorneys can file applications as Adobe PDF documents. The web page for submitting applications is https://sportal.uspto.gov/secure/portal/efs-unregistered. Filing fees can be paid by credit card or by a USPTO “deposit account”.
What is a USPTO patent?
A patent issued by the USPTO is an intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor -to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States- for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.
This right was established over 200 years ago in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
There are three types of patents
* Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;
* Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
* Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.
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