Patent Law in Grand Rapids, MI
Have you heard of the Grand Rapids Inventors Network?
This nonprofit organization dedicates itself to giving local innovators help to achieve their dreams. Moreover, you can go to a USPTO workshop, training, or seminar.
But, how do you ensure success? Considering that the fees can reach thousands of dollars, it pays to have peace of mind about your odds. Start that journey today by reading this article and uncovering the full breadth of your options.
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.
Ferris State University has a Patent and Trademark Resource Center for inventors in Grand Rapids to conduct research. Furthermore, the Midwest Regional USPTO Office may have the answers to a few of your burning questions.
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
Grand Rapids, MI 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 Grand Rapids MI
The process of applying for a patent in Grand Rapids, Michigan 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 Manual of Patent Examining Procedure says that concepts must be novel, non-obvious, and useful. Accordingly, someone from Grand Rapids needs to conduct some research first. This part of the process is so crucial that the USPTO offers a step-by-step tutorial.
However, judging how likely your invention is to pass muster can require the experience of a local patent attorney. Moreover, you may need legal counsel for any of the following steps the federal government identifies:
- Determine whether you need a patent, trademark, or copyright
- Evaluate your concept for its patentability
- Designate if you need a design, plant, or utility patent
- Prepare your application strategy with legal representation
- Submit all required documents to the USPTO
- Respond to office actions from your government examiner
- Receive approval and request certified copies
- Pay maintenance fees promptly to avoid losing intellectual property protections
When Should I Hire a Qualified Grand Rapids, Michigan Patent Lawyer?
There are multiple reasons to hire a patent attorney. If you want the assurance of having someone acting on your behalf, then Grand Rapids 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 Entrepreneur Magazine, the rules used by the USPTO can be rough for the inexperienced to get through. In essence, there are volumes of text that could change the viability of your application.
Without years of dedicated study and engagement, you can fly blind to a rejection. But, you also can’t keep a constant eye on the market for infringement. Having a patent attorney in Grand Rapids dedicated to this task can help prevent the loss of significant amounts of revenue.
Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan
A patent attorney provides a great service in assisting with securing and managing your patent. You should meet with a qualified Grand Rapids attorney to discuss how he or she can help you. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Michigan state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!