Patent Law in Florida

Like many inventors, the idea for your invention might have come to you in the shower. However, you don’t want to let all the hard work of realizing that idea go down the drain. Unfortunately, this could happen to your invention if you file a patent without legal help. Thankfully, Florida inventors don’t have to go through this highly complex and competitive process blind. Discover how the decision to hire an experienced Florida patent attorney can be the difference between success and failure in securing your patent.

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 Florida. EROO is based out of the USPTO Virginia Headquarters. Additionally, there are currently three Patent and Trademark Resource Centers in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando.

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

Florida 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 Florida

The process of applying for a patent in Florida 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 Florida Bar (FB) recommends working with a Florida patent attorney to secure a patent for your invention. This is because a patent application is a highly technical document and timing is critical. In fact, you have only one year to file a patent application after your invention is offered for sale or publicly disclosed.

FB also recommends having your attorney conduct a patent search prior to filing. This is key, since your application must show your invention is novel and not obvious in light of prior inventions. Additionally, you must submit an application fee, a description of the invention, a drawing, and an oath asserting you are the original creator of your invention.

When Should I Hire an Experienced Florida Patent Lawyer?

There are multiple reasons to hire a patent attorney. If you want the assurance of having someone acting on your behalf, then  Florida 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 your patent, a Florida patent lawyer can help you protect it as well as license it. Keep in mind there are restrictions on how a patent owner can extract royalties from third parties. For example, the Florida Bar reports that a patent license may not lawfully endure beyond the term of the licensed patent.

Additionally, a Florida patent lawyer can help you fight back against patent trolls. Florida enacted HB1181, relating to bad faith assertions of patent infringement. Specifically, this legislation prohibits a person from sending a demand letter to a target which makes a bad faith assertion of patent infringement.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Florida

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 Florida 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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