Patent Law in Chicago, IL

Chicago residents have a long history of patenting some amazing inventions. From the zipper to the vacuum cleaner, Chicago has introduced many life-changing creations to the world. However, being first to invent or first to file does not ensure your patent will be approved. The edge you need to succeed is a deep legal understanding of the patent process. An experienced Chicago patent attorney can give you that edge, and help protect your invention, legacy, and profits.

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.

The USPTO Midwest Regional Office in Detroit, Michigan serves Illinois and surrounding states. As well, Chicago inventors can access resources at the Chicago Patent and Trademark Resource Center.

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

Chicago, IL 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 Chicago IL

The process of applying for a patent in Chicago, Illinois 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 Chicago’s Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the number of patents awarded in Chicago grew from 3,101 in 2000 to 4,077 in 2017. High levels of patenting generally indicate a talented regional workforce with a strong capacity to conduct R&D. Additionally, research shows that workers in industries with higher-than-average levels of intellectual property and patenting earn 46 percent more than those in other industries.

Although these statistics are inspiring, the patent application process is highly complex and often arduous. Your application must include a detailed description of your invention as well as drawings. In addition, you must show how the invention overcomes any disadvantages that existed in prior inventions. Furthermore, you must outline the claims that define the scope of your invention. A patent examiner will review and challenge those claims, and you must respond with timely, written defenses. An experienced Chicago patent attorney is the best way to successfully navigate the hurdles and legalities involved in the process.

When Should I Hire a Qualified Chicago, Illinois Patent Lawyer?

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

According to Chicago Business, some inventors make the mistake of paying insufficient attention to the terms of patent licenses, assuming it is all “standard”. Poorly drafted or ambiguous contracts can lead to protracted and expensive litigation. This can destroy business relationships, drain resources, and distract you from business goals. Hiring an experienced Chicago patent attorney is the best way to negotiate a profitable and sustainable license for your patent.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Chicago, Illinois

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