To be sure you submit the proper application, you have to decide whether you’re going to file for a utility patent, a design patent, or a plant patent.

Utility Patent

What we all normally think of as a patent is actually a “utility patent.” A utility patent protects an invention that does something new (the first television), or does something old in a novel new way (the better mousetrap). A utility patent gives you the legal right to prevent anyone else from making or using your invention for 20 years as described in article.

Design Patent

Many people are not aware you can also patent a design. For example, assume you built an ordinary mousetrap but replaced the plain wooden base with an ornately designed base. A design patent gives you the right to prevent anyone else from using your design for 14 years.

patent types

Plant Patent

If what you’ve created is a new plant variety, your creation may qualify for a plant patent. Because they are subject to very technical qualifications, you should read the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s information on plant patents before applying. If you do receive a plant patent, you’ll have the right to prevent anyone else from growing or distributing that plant for 20 years.

Decide Between a Provisional and Non-Provisional Application

The normal patent application is a “non-provisional” application. You submit your completed application with the necessary specifications, claims, drawings, specimens, fees and signatures, and a while later you find out if you’re being granted a patent or not.

In 1995, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office devised the provisional patent application process to put U.S. inventors on an even footing with foreign inventors. A provisional application allows the inventor to quickly submit a brief application form and receive that all-important filing date much sooner than would be possible if he or she had to prepare and submit the complete application as seen in article.