Patent Law in Illinois

Did you know that the U.S. government charges a $220 to $320 basic filing fee for patent applications?

Additional surcharges for examinations, post-allowance fees, or maintenance costs can add up and cost Illinois residents thousands. As a result, you could waste your time and hard-earned money without a clear-eyed view of the tasks ahead.

But, with the right advice, you could obtain airtight protection for your creation and dramatically change your life. So, take a break from your workbench and discover why you may need an attorney to 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 from something for which you hold the patent.

There are two Patent and Trademark Resource Centers available to the public in Illinois. Generally, the nearest USPTO presence for most residents is the Midwest Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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

Illinois 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 Illinois

The process of applying for a patent in 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.

This process can take up to three years to complete in most cases. Moreover, there can be hefty fees that inventors need to pay throughout. Furthermore, disputes or appeals can make hiring a patent lawyer necessary to protect your interests. Fortunately the USPTO describes the following steps that anyone from Illinois will have to complete:

  • Identify the type of intellectual property protection you need
  • Determine whether or not you have a patentable invention
  • Pick one of the three types of patents
  • Prepare for your application
  • Submit your initial paperwork to the federal government
  • Work with an examiner on any deficiencies
  • Pay maintenance fees regularly

This list can feel intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you haven’t applied before. Hiring a patent lawyer can help relieve some of this stress. But, completing the process provides a tremendous sense of accomplishment. According to an article from the Southern Illinoisan, a 20-year-old college student secured a patent in April 2022. While the average age of patent seekers is 47, there are always benefits you can achieve at any stage of life.

When Should I Hire an Experienced 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  Illinois 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.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, hiring a patent attorney for a non-provisional patent is advisable. Taking this route clearly has significant benefits as patents involve a level of complexity best served by legal expertise.

Still sometimes, the worst-case scenario happens, and you discover someone has infringed on your patent. Your patent attorney in Illinois can best help handle this delicate situation. While the individual or organization in question may back off after receiving a cease and desist letter, you may wind up having to go to court.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Illinois

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 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!

How It All Works

Call us or answer the questions on this site. Your category, location, and additional information will help us connect you to a legal professional and we’ll send you the results instantly.

Which Areas of Law?

We have attorneys in over 20 legal categories to choose from.

How Much Does This Cost?

We don’t charge you to be connected. Some legal categories require upfront fees while others do not. The legal professional will determine this with you before you commit to anything.