Patent Law in Indiana

Have you asked yourself recently, “Is it worth the time to apply for a patent?”

If inventors in Indiana have a patentable idea, they will join an elite company. Financier Worldwide estimates that U.S. patents represent 20% of the world’s gross domestic product.

While the process can be arduous, you can secure your own piece of this lucrative pie. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reports that they receive more patent applications every year. If you want to beat the competition and obtain incontrovertible legal protection, you may need a local patent attorney’s help. Find out the essentials and what you can do to protect your invention below.

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 Indianapolis Public Library offers guides, search software, and videos to applicants. You can also contact the Midwest Regional Office to ask for resources.

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

Indiana 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 Indiana

The process of applying for a patent in Indiana 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 process that follows can take Indiana residents years to finish. But, as with other aspects of life, preparation and thoroughness will help. Your patent attorney can assist you in ensuring that you don’t waste hard-earned money or time.

According to Purdue University, the overall process looks like the following:

  • Choose the type of intellectual property you need
  • Find out if you can patent your invention
  • Determine which patent works best for your circumstance
  • Prepare your application and schedule a consultation with a lawyer
  • Respond to your examiner’s feedback
  • Receive the approval for your invention
  • Pay maintenance to keep your legal protection

When Should I Hire an Experienced Indiana Patent Lawyer?

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

There can also be a time when you have to defend your patent against infringement. But, the unfortunate reality is that cease and desist letters or other types of legal notices may not be enough.

Indiana has several examples of businesses and organizations that had to take their case to court. For instance, Inside Indiana Business reported on a lawsuit filed by Purdue University against Google. In this case, the college’s research foundation claimed that the tech giant developed Android based on one of their technologies.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Indiana

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 Indiana 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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