Patent Law in Colorado
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office reports that approximately 52% of patent applications are approved each year. This is an intimidating statistic when you consider the hard work and expense that goes into developing an invention. Moreover, Patent Rebel reports that “errors in the application process” is one of the top three reasons for rejection. This is not surprising, since a successful application must reflect a deep understanding of the legalities involved. Read on to see why hiring an experienced Colorado patent lawyer gives you the best chance to secure a patent and ongoing protection for your invention.
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.
The Rocky Mountain Regional Office (RMRO) of the USPTO is located in downtown Denver in the Byron G. Rogers Federal Building. RMRO is an extension of the USPTO Headquarters, and offers services and resources to Colorado residents. In addition, RMRO serves Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.
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
Colorado 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 Colorado
The process of applying for a patent in Colorado 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 Denver Business Journal (DBJ), the number of new patent applications in Colorado rose from 5,493 in 2014 to 5,663 in 2018. DBJ reported the success story of the first black woman in Colorado to receive a patent. She applied for a provisional patent to safeguard her idea for a water-resistant nylon hood. One year later she applied for a standard patent. The first few years of waiting for her patent to be approved were stressful due to a lack of communication from USPTO Headquarters. Fortunately, she was able to defend her patent via video conferencing with the Denver Regional Office.
According to the Colorado Business Resource Book, a patent application must include a claims description with enough detail to allow anyone trained in the appropriate field of science to reproduce the item. Along with the description of the invention, you must submit an application fee, a drawing, and an oath testifying you are the original creator of your invention. After you apply, the average time to obtain a patent is about 24 months. Working with an experienced Colorado patent attorney can increase your chance of success.
When Should I Hire an Experienced Colorado Patent Lawyer?
There are multiple reasons to hire a patent attorney. If you want the assurance of having someone acting on your behalf, then Colorado 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.
Once the USPTO grants you a patent, it is your responsibility to defend it. One of the main reasons for hiring a patent lawyer is to defend against patent infringement by another person. Additionally, hiring an experienced Colorado patent lawyer is helpful in the event someone accuses you of infringement.
According to Colorado’s Attorney General’s Office, patent assertion fraud is on the rise in the state. This is when someone fraudulently demands licensing fees for the use of patented technology. These demands can include threats of litigation, short response deadlines, and vague language. Since this violates Colorado Statute, hiring a patent lawyer is the best way to help you determine whether going to court is the optimal way to resolve the situation.
Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Colorado
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 Colorado state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!