Patents are a vital and valuable asset to any business that relies on innovation or invention of a unique product or service. They can help protect from competitors copying or stealing an idea or product. In addition to inventor rights, a patent gives the company who purchased the patent rights to exclusive rights to use the invention. Given the value of a patent, it is essential to understand how long they last and what rules may apply when obtaining one or renewing it in order to protect a company’s rights. In this article, we’ll explain how long patents last for in Chicago and how to properly maintain your patent in the most legal way possible to ensure nobody steals your invention.

The length of a patent depends on the type of patent that is obtained, because there are three main types of patents: utility, design, and plant. Understanding the differences between the three is helpful in order to determine what type of patent is best for your situation.

A utility patent is the most common type of patent and is usually obtained for inventions of a new or non-obvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter. These patents are issued for inventions that have utilitarian purpose, meaning that it has some kind of use or application in the marketplace. A utility patent lasts for up to 20 years from the date it is filed, making them the longest-lasting type of patent.

A design patent, on the other hand, is issued for the non-utilitarian physical appearance of an article of manufacture. In other words, it is applied for the design of a product or service, and the patent is specifically for the overall look and feel of whatever the product or service may be. A design patent may have similar components to a utility patent, but the overall purpose is quite different. Design patent is granted for up to 14 years from the date it is granted.

Lastly, there is a plant patent, which is issued for the discovery and asexual reproduction of a new type of plant. Asexual reproduction occurs when a particular kind of plant can reproduce off-shoots or cuttings and mantain the same genetic characteristics, which essentially allows plant breeders to create new varieties of plants. A plant patent lasts for up to 20 years from the date the application is filed.

Before proceeding to apply for a patent it is recommended to first consult with an experienced patent attorney who is knowledgeable about the local regulations in Chicago and surrounding areas. A patent attorney can provide insight on the length of a patent, as well as the best potion to protect a business’s invention. They can also provide advice on the steps to take to ensure that an invention is novel enough to receive a patent, or help to resolve a legal dispute if a patent is violated.

When it comes to maintaining a patent, there are a few basic steps one can take. First, it is important to remain aware of upcoming expiration dates and to be ready to submit a renewal request in a timely manner. Additionally, it is important to keep detailed records of the patent filings, inventors, and disclosures in order to properly defend your invention in the event of a patent dispute. Lastly, one should stay abreast of news within the industry in order to be sure that the invention is still legally protected and able to be marketed.

In summary, patents can be a valuable asset for any business. It is important to know how long they last and the steps that need to be taken to properly maintain them in order to protect the invention. It is also beneficial to consult with an experienced patent attorney in Chicago and surrounding areas as they can provide insight on the patent process and help to resolve any legal disputes.


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