Patent Law in California

California residents should always be willing to go the extra mile to protect their inventions and intellectual property. While you never want to end up as a cautionary tale, there are bad actors who seek to take advantage of those who are unfamiliar with the patent process. This is where an experienced patent attorney in California can help you.

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 from something for which you hold the patent.

Residents of California seeking to file a new patent or trademark for a new invention can begin the process  of filing to protect their property at one of the United States Patent and Trademark offices located throughout the state. The USPTO has offices located in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Silicon Valley. These offices provide several significant advantages for inventors and entrepreneurs, such as networking events to grow influence and reach.

What Are the Types of Patents?

There are three different types of patents inventors can apply for. Each patent has specific 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

California inventors often file a provisional patent first, which is 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 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 California

The process of applying for a patent in California 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 California State Law Library seeks to alleviate stress and help guide residents through the patent process. This library has essentially been functioning as a Patent and Trademark Resource Center for California residents since 1979. However, the staff and leadership are very forthright in stating that they cannot advise you in any legal capacity. For this you must go to an experienced patent attorney in California.

When looking to file a patent for an invention you should keep a written record of everything you do; record every step of the process. You could also keep a video record if that is more to your sensibilities. Make sure that your invention qualifies for a patent, and make sure that a patent doesn’t already exist. Once you’ve done your research, you should approach an experienced patent attorney in California to help you through this process of filing, and filing correctly.

When Should I Hire an Experienced California Patent Lawyer?

There are multiple reasons to hire a patent attorney. If you want the assurance of having someone acting on your behalf, then  California patent law lawyers can help you. They 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.

The California Secretary of State maintains the patent applications filed, as well as maintains the current trademark database. You can choose to go it alone when it comes to protecting your inventions and property, but the best course of action may be to avail yourself of the expertise of an experienced California patent attorney.

Reuters reports that a California U.S. Appeals Court has given forward motion to a patent infringement lawsuit involving tech giant Apple. While we like to think that our ideas are safe, unless you file the proper patents any bad faith actor can come along and lay claim to the idea for themselves. This is when you need an experienced California patent attorney most of all. He or she can help you defend your intellectual and entrepreneurial property.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in California

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