Patent Law in Bellingham, WA

The entrepreneurial spirit is the backbone of America. It drives innovation and competition. It demands the very best of us. However, that same spirit can cause us to go it alone when we shouldn’t. Patent law is very intricate, and requires an experienced attorney in Bellingham to help you navigate the process.

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.

Inventors in Bellingham seeking to patent their intellectual property will most likely file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Seattle. NW Washington News reports that a new patent was recently granted in Bellingham. The patent applies to a new medical device being marketed by Synthro Inc.

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

Bellingham, WA 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 Bellingham WA

The process of applying for a patent in Bellingham, Washington 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.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides a full guide to filing patents and trademarks for residents of Bellingham. You’ll need to determine whether or not your intellectual property qualifies for a patent or trademark. You should also:

  • Determine which type of patent you need
  • Assess if this particular invention or design already exists
  • Provide thorough documentation of your work in creating the property
  • File your patent application
  • Respond to any objections the patent examiner may have

Bellingham inventors can use the Whatcom County Law Library to conduct their preliminary research. However, it may be in your best interest to retain an experienced patent attorney in Washington. He or she can help you file and be certain that no time is wasted by improperly filing.

When Should I Hire a Qualified Bellingham, Washington Patent Lawyer?

There are multiple reasons to hire a patent attorney. If you want the assurance of having someone acting on your behalf, then Bellingham 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.

It is important to remember that the patent process is a process, and can move much slower than you would like. Metro West Times reports that a Bellingham resident filed for a patent in May of 2017, and was not granted a patent until April 2022. According to the Center for Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship, roughly 50% of all patents expire due to cost.

An experienced patent attorney in Bellingham can help you during the patent process. Whether it is filing correctly, or enforcing your patent rights, it is beneficial to have someone in your corner that is specialized in this area of the law. If you are forced to go to court to uphold your rights, your attorney can pursue monetary damages, as well as court costs and attorneys fees.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Bellingham, Washington

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