Patents have a long history here in the United States, protecting intellectual property for quite some time now. In fact, patents date back centuries, first used as many as 228 years ago. In the years since, of course, patent law has involved quite considerably, becoming varied and differentiated throughout the many countries in which it is used. For many people, applying for a patent can be a complicated process for this very reason, something that can even prevent them from taking the steps to obtain a patent that they very much do deserve.
Hiring a patent lawyer can be an ideal first step to take when filling out a patent application. A patent lawyer working from a dedicated patent law firm will be able to thoroughly explain the patent process – as well as what patent protection really means. A patent lawyer will be well versed in patent law and trademark law alike, and will be more likely than not able to answer any question that you might have. It’s important to ask your patent lawyer these question even if you ultimately think they are silly, as having unanswered questions on key aspects of patent law can certainly be hugely detrimental in the long run.
For instance, you should ask your patent lawyer about all the steps that must be taken throughout the patent application process. After all, not everything is even eligible for a patent in the first place, though such things tend to be in the minority. However, it’s important even for eligible patents to follow exactly the steps that a patent application sets out, as this is the only way that a patent can ultimately be granted, no matter what the merit of the idea itself.
Understanding what it means to have a patent pending, the time after an application is submitted and before an actual patent is granted to your idea or your product, is also hugely important and not always readily understood. Fortunately, your patent lawyer will be able to easily tell you that claiming patent pending still protects your invention for the span of a full year while you wait to find out if your patent has been granted. This is ideal for many a person and many an invention, of course, as patents can sometimes take quite some time before they are officially finalized. However, if a patent is not ultimately granted, claiming that a patent is pending can no longer protect your rights to an invention or to any intellectual property after that 12 month span of time has passed after first filing for a patent in the first place.
Even a patent that has been granted does’t last forever, however, something that many people don’t realize until a patent lawyer tells them that this is the case. Typically, your average patent will last your for a couple of decades, a span of 20 years, before you need to apply for a new one. However, this will vary among various types of patents – and it is also crucial to mention that the term of the patent begins as soon as your application is received for the patent, not as soon as the patent itself is actually granted (as patent pending has likely served in protecting your material or intellectual property during that waiting period, effectively serving as the patent itself would have done).
Again, however, the term of the patent you are seeking out is not necessarily a one size fits all type of thing. As many a patent lawyer has likely explained over the history of patent law here in the United States and beyond, different patented objects will have different patents, and it is important to be very aware of the terms of one’s own patent in order to avoid any difficulties with it expiring before the person with the patent has had a chance to reapply for a new one. Fortunately, having a patent lawyer on board can be a huge help in this regard and in regard to really all things revolving around your patent or patents.