Patent Law in Baltimore, MD

Did you know that the artificial sweetener Saccharin was invented by a researcher at John Hopkins University in Baltimore? One day your invention could become as much of a household name as Sweet ‘N Low and Equal. However, first you have to obtain a patent, which is a time consuming and legally complex process. Read on to see how hiring an experienced Baltimore patent attorney can be the difference between patent success and patent failure.

What Is a Patent?

Patent law covers the many aspects of securing a patent. There are many legalities to understand, from copyrighting products and advertising, to the Lanham Act. Basically, a patent is a legal protection you secure through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, (USPTO), under intellectual property laws. A patent guarantees the exclusive right to use your intellectual property. It also helps enforce that no other person can make or profit off of something for which you have a patent.

If you live in Baltimore, you can apply to the USPTO Eastern Regional Outreach Office (EROO), based out of USPTO Virginia Headquarters. For additional resources, you can access the Patent and Trademark Resource Center in College Park, MD.

What Are the Types of Patents?

There are three different types of patents inventors can apply for. Each patent has stipulations and serves a different purpose.

  • Utility Patent – This is the most common type of patent. It is for new machines, processes/functions, and chemicals.
  • Design Patent – These patents are for securing a unique and new design of a manufactured item. Design patents protect from entities trying to capitalize on an invention by replicating and producing it.
  • Plant Patent – These types of patents are specifically for the invention of new plant varieties. The process must include asexual reproduction, meaning by means other than seeds.

What Can You Patent?

In reality, not everything you create qualifies for patenting. There are only certain types of intellectual property that fall under patent protection. Other intellectual property rights cover different creations. Here is a look at the types of inventions you can patent.

  • Process – Also referred to as a method, this is a new way of doing something. 
  • Machine – This is any material thing or device that has some sort of output, whether functionality or physical object.
  • Manufacture – This is the creation of a physical object.
  • Composition of matter – This is a mixture of chemical or biological compounds to create something new.

You can apply for a patent for whichever new device, method, or compound you create by applying to the USPTO. Once they accept your patent application and approve it, you have exclusivity rights to the invention for the next 20 years. However, a design patent period lasts for 14 years.

Difference Between a Provisional and Non-Provisional Patent

Baltimore, MD inventors often file a provisional patent first, which is like a way of buying time to finalize an invention. Provisional patents last for a year, and the application process is simple. Once you file a provisional patent, you have exactly a year to convert it to a non-provisional patent. The latter is just another name for the formal and final patent.

How to Apply for a Patent in Baltimore MD

The process of applying for a patent in Baltimore, Maryland is complex and detailed. You must meet all the requirements and submit every required piece of documentation to secure your patent. You must file your application with the USPTO.

According to the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University was in the top 100 US schools to earn the most patents in 2017. Specifically, Johns Hopkins ranked at No. 7 with 164 patents. In fact, the school has ranked in the top 10 since 2014. Additionally, the University of Maryland ranked at No. 48, with 51 patents in 2017. Keep in mind, universities typically work with experienced patent attorneys throughout the patent application process.

Despite these inspiring statistics, the patent application is a dense and highly legal document. Fortunately, an experienced Baltimore patent attorney can successfully guide you through the legalities involved in your patent application. For instance, you must submit both a detailed description and a drawing of your invention. Additionally, you must declare any research done with other parties. Furthermore, you must provide the claims that define the scope of your invention, and how it solves problems that existed in prior inventions. Be aware, you must also sign an oath testifying that you are the original inventor.

When Should I Hire a Qualified Baltimore, Maryland Patent Lawyer?

There are multiple reasons to hire a patent attorney. If you want the assurance of having someone acting on your behalf, then Baltimore patent law lawyers can help you. He or she can assist with every step of the filing process and ensure that you include all the required information. Additionally, they may be able to guide you when it comes to navigating consumer laws, as well as help you avoid false advertising. This can prove especially valuable if you are trying to merge, or transform your invention into a business.

Managing your patent properly requires the help of an experienced Baltimore patent attorney. For example, your lawyer can help you license the patent. They can also help you deal with patent infringement. This can involve discussions with the infringer or going to court to sue for royalties and attorney’s fees.

Additionally, your attorney can assist you if you are the victim of patent assertion fraud, or patent trolling. In 2014, Maryland passed legislation prohibiting bad faith patent assertion. This legislation authorizes civil action for victims to recover injuries and losses sustained as a result of this violation. It also authorizes the awarding of damages.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Baltimore, Maryland

A patent attorney provides a great service in assisting with securing and managing your patent. You should meet with a qualified Baltimore attorney to discuss how he or she can help you. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Maryland state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!

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