Patent Law in Connecticut

American inventors file over 600,000 patent applications each year, hoping to secure their “million-dollar idea”. This is not surprising given that US patents are worth over $3 trillion. However, being first to invent or first to file does not guarantee patent security or success. You need to add a deep legal understanding of the patent process to your genius and sweat. Working with an experienced Colorado patent attorney can give you the competitive edge you need to protect the legacy and profits of 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 USPTO Eastern Regional Outreach Office (EROO) serves the Eastern United States, including Connecticut. EROO is based in the Alexandria, Virginia headquarters of the USPTO.

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

Connecticut 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 Connecticut

The process of applying for a patent in Connecticut 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 New Haven Register, Connecticut patents rose to record levels in 2019, with the USPTO granting more than 5,000 patents. In fact, Connecticut ranks as the 8th most innovative state in the country in terms of patents per capita. If you are considering filing a patent, it may be advisable to do a patent search beforehand. The Central Connecticut State University outlines the necessary steps for a preliminary patent search.

Additionally, 211 of Connecticut reports that only the inventor may apply for a patent. If two or more people invent something, they may file an application as joint inventors. In addition, the inventor must file an oath asserting that they are the inventors of the claim. They must also state that they are the first to have invented what is claimed. Furthermore, the patent application must describe the invention in detail. This must be done so that others will be able to make and use the invention once the patent grant has expired. Be aware, the patent application is a complex legal document. Consulting with an experienced Connecticut patent lawyer about your application will help to maximize your chance of success.

When Should I Hire an Experienced Connecticut Patent Lawyer?

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

One of the main reasons for hiring a patent lawyer is to defend against patent infringement by another person. However, patent lawyers are also important if you are a victim of patent trolling. Patent trolling is the fraudulent filing of a claim of patent infringement against an entity. Patent trolls often file claims in bad faith, hoping the company or person being sued will settle to avoid litigation costs.

While some states have passed legislation allowing victims to sue in state court, Connecticut has not. In fact, Connecticut’s SB 258 was considered in the 2014 session, but was not reintroduced. With fewer state protections available, working with an experienced Connecticut patent lawyer is key to resolving these disputes.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Connecticut

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 Connecticut state lines.

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