How Does a Patent Work: Everything You Need to Know
While many people are aware that patents exist to protect intellectual and product property, most are not exactly sure how they work.2 min read
If you have ever wondered how a patent works, you are not alone. While many people are aware that patents exist to protect intellectual and product property, most are not exactly sure how they work.
Patent Filing Requirements
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires that most patent applications include a drawing of the product. Drawings are necessary because they give the USPTO a better understanding of the product and its intentions.
Using professional drawings to showcase your product can actually help with the application process because it shows the product at its best use. Failing to include a drawing can make it difficult for USPTO to identify the originality of the product. Drawings highlight the differences between the product and other existing patents that may be similar.
Although every patent application does not necessarily require a drawing, they are often necessary to better understand the product. It is best to include a professional drawing with every patent application. Working with a professional illustrator that is familiar with the patenting application process can ensure that you meet all of the USPTO requirements.
Failing to include a drawing or using a drawing that does not clearly indicate the usage of the product can lead to an incomplete or denied application.
Patent Drawing Requirements
There are two types of patents that require drawings:
- Provisional applications: provisional applications do not have strict requirements for drawings. However, it is still best to submit an application with a professional drawing for the best results.
- Non-provisional applications: Non-provisional applications have stricture drawing requirements including image size, scaling, and formatting used.
Unless necessary, it is best to only submit drawings in black. Color drawings are not always accepted and can be difficult to file electronically.
Types of Protection
It is important to understand the different methods by which to protect your product or intellectual property:
- Copyright: a copyright protects your original work of authorship. It covers books, paintings, photographs, content, and music.
- Design patent: a design patent protects the design of a product.
- Utility patent: a utility patent protects an invention and its unique functional features. Some inventions may be approved for both a design and utility patent if both are unique to the product.
- Trademark: a trademark protects a company name, symbol or any other identifying mark of a business such as a logo. Trademark rights are identified by the traditional trademark symbol. However, trademarks are generally limited to a specific area unless you file for a federal trademark.
Protecting your product with a patent is important. Otherwise you risk a competitor stealing your product information and marketing it as their own.
If you need help with the patenting process, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top five percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.