Getting started on filing for a patent in Chicago is a complex and often intimidating process for those not familiar with intellectual property law. However, a patent can be an important tool for protecting and rewarding innovation for businesses, as it provides the owner with exclusive rights to a design, product, or idea for a specified period of time. In order to understand exactly what kind of protection a patent can offer, it is important to know the different types of patents, the eligibility criteria, and how long a patent lasts. Additionally, it is important to understand how to secure the assistance of experienced counsel that understand local regulations.

What is a Patent?

At its core, a patent is an agreement between an inventor and the state or national government. In exchange for public disclosure of an invention, the inventor is granted exclusive rights over their invention. This agreement allows the inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling his or her invention without permission. In general, different countries grant different types of patents with different requirements and timeframes.

Types of Patents

In the United States, there are three main types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Utility patents are the most common type of patent, and are granted to inventors and creators who have made an invention that is novel, useful, and non-obvious. Utility patents provide protection to any tangible, manufactured product. By contrast, design patents are granted to inventors who have created a product with a unique decorative or ornamental design. Design patents do not cover functional or utilitarian aspects of an invention, but instead protect the design elements of a product. Finally, plant patents are granted to inventors who have figured out a way to asexually reproduce a new variety of plant from a living thing.

Eligibility for Patents

In order to be eligible for a patent, the inventor must have created something that is novel, useful, and non-obvious. Additionally, in order to qualify for a utility patent, the invention must meet the following criteria:

• It must be something that can be made or used;

• It must contain an inventive step or feature;

• It must be able to be manufactured or used in a way that is repeatable; and

• It must be in the public domain (in other words, not obvious to a person skilled in the particular field of the invention).

How Long Does a Patent Last?

In the United States, a patent generally lasts for 20 years from the date it was filed, although there are certain exceptions and modifications that apply to certain types of patents. For utility and plant patents, the term of patent protection is generally 20 years from the date of filing. For design patents, the term of patent protection is typically 15 years from the date the patent is granted.

In addition to the expiration date, patents are also subject to certain renewal fees, which must be paid periodically to maintain the patent in force. Additionally, patent owners are subject to certain “maintenance fees,” which must be paid at certain intervals to maintain the exclusive rights granted by a patent.

Getting Started with Patents in Chicago

For business owners and innovators based in the city of Chicago, the task of filing for a patent can be intimidating. However, it is important to understand that filing for a patent in Chicago requires experienced counsel that understand local regulations. One of the easiest and most reliable ways to secure experienced counsel is to use an online legal services marketplace such as UpCounsel.

UpCounsel’s network of experienced intellectual property attorneys have an average of 14 years of experience and come from top law schools such as Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. Additionally, UpCounsel allows potential clients to read clients ratings and reviews for each individual attorney, ensuring that anyone who engages with UpCounsel knows exactly what to expect. Whether an individual or a business is looking for a one-time consult or an entire freelance legal department, UpCounsel has the perfect solution.



patent law,

intellectual property