Exploring the Different Types of Patents

What are the Different Patent Types?

Many people know that a patent grants you, the owner, a legally enforceable right to prevent others from using your unique invention. Something that you may not know is that there are different types of patents. Learn more about the different types of patents below, starting with the most common type, a utility patent.

Utility Patents

Utility patents protect the function of your idea. For example, a patent of a computer would cover the function of the computer, such as the way it turns on, the way it processes information, the way it connects to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. In a utility patent application, the look of your idea has no effect on your patent protection, it is simply the utility or function of the idea.

Design Patents

Alternatively, if you are wanting to protect the design or look of an idea, you may want to pursue a design patent application. A design patent application covers only the look or design, and does not take into consideration how the patent actually works.

For example, if you have a new design for a pencil, maybe it has two erasers instead of one, you could file a design patent application for only the way the two-eraser pencil looks. How it actually writes, utilizes the two erasers, or otherwise functions will not be protected by the design patent application.

Plant Patents

The least common type of patent application is a plant patent application. Per the USPTO, a plant patent is granted to “who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.” There are over 80 plant patents for roses alone.

If you have an idea that you think you might want a utility patent application, design patent application, or plant patent application, contact us today!

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