You’ve just come up with the next big idea for a new product with your own unique design. Before you share it with the world, however, you are concerned because you want to make sure no one else can steal your idea but not sure what to do next. What you need is a patent. A patent is a limited right that grants the patent holder exclusive rights to their idea, protecting the idea from being reproduced or used by anyone else.

In 1953 the United States Congress enacted the U.S. Patent Act. Since then, many revision to the act have been passed and enacted all focused on protecting the innovators and dreamers who continue to revolutionize our world. The two most common types of Patents are utility and design.

A design patent is patent that protects new, original, and ornamental features of an article. Put differently, a design patent is used to protect the visual design of a product. A common example of everyday products that are protected via a design patent are products sold by Apple®. Apple® holds more than 16 design patents, including a design patent for the iPhone, iPhone wallet with MagSafe, iPhone home screen GUIs, and more. Design patents, unlike utility patents, are enforceable for 15 years from the date of filing.

Unlike design patents that focus on the ornamental design of an idea, a utility patent is a patent that protects a new and useful, machine, article of manufacture or composition of matter or any new and useful improvement thereof. Utility patents is enforceable for 20 years from the date of filing.

For an applicant to obtain a patent, the applicant must generally satisfy three general requirements, (i) does the idea fall within patentable subject matter, (ii) is the idea novel, and (iii) is the idea not obvious considering other known inventions. If you think you have a great idea and want to talk to someone about patenting it, give us a call. Obeidy and Associates are ready to serve you and help you protect what belongs to you.

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