Patent and Copyright Law Can be Both Complicated and Confusing


Patent lawyers and attorneys who work in intellectual property practices strive to help their clients file the proper paperwork in a timely fashion. In a time when they are thousands of researchers and developers all working toward some of the same goals it is essential that these legal professionals understand the various complexities in the patent process in a number of fields. Knowing, for instance, that design patents expire 14 years from the date of issue, can help a client realize that as soon as a patent is granted the company needs to be able to hit the ground running to maximize profits.

The latest research indicates that the U.S. Patent Office today receives six times as many applications as it did in the year 1980. And while the first U.S. patent law was enacted in 1790, there are many more guidelines and requirements today. In fact, the process of getting a patent or a copyright can vary so much from one kind of field to another that there are now intellectual property practices that only focus on one kind of product.

There are basically four ways to protect intellectual property:

  • Patents.
  • Trademarks.
  • Copyrights.
  • Trade secrets.

Each of these four ways to protect intellectual property require different kinds of applications, each with their own specific guidelines. Working with an attorney who specializes in the kind of intellectual property protection that you need will always be in your best interest.

It is important, for instance, to know the kind of legal advice you need for your specific idea. In order to receive a patent, for example. an invention has to meet the three criteria of usefulness, novelty, non-obviousness.

And while some intellectual property laws and patents have requirements that are similar, there are also some that are very different. For example, a utility patent is far and away the most common type of patent issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In fact, as many as 90% of patent documents have been utility patents, according to the USPTO.
In just the year 2016, the USPTO issued 303,051 patents. Are you working on your next idea or product to add your name to that list>?

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