Patent Law in Iowa

Are you going cross-eyed after Googling “how to secure a patent?”

As you have likely already discovered, there’s an overwhelming amount of information to sift through. The application, its associated fees, and the time involved can feel daunting. There’s also a genuine chance that you could spend years and thousands of dollars for nothing without expert advice.

If you’re seeking a patent in Iowa, the information below could lead you to the right attorney for the job. There’s no time to waste in this competitive environment, so let’s get started!

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.

If you have questions about the process or need to ask a few questions, you can try contacting the USPTO. The nearest physical location for Iowans to call on 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

Iowa 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 Iowa

The process of applying for a patent in Iowa 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.

Before you start your forms, you’ll want to complete some research. The University of Iowa suggests several resources to complete this task. Your primary concern is identifying patents that already exist. If you need help deciding if your idea is too similar, consider a consultation with a patent attorney.

Other steps in the patent process that you’ll need to consider include:

  • Choose the type of patent to pursue
  • Prepare before starting the application with legal counsel
  • Complete and submit your forms to the USPTO
  • Respond to feedback from your government examiner
  • Receive patent and pay maintenance fees

When Should I Hire an Experienced Iowa Patent Lawyer?

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

The USPTO highly recommends hiring a patent attorney to assist with the application process. However, you may also need one to stop others from infringing on your rights. If they refuse to cease operations, the situation can quickly escalate to hearings in a civil court.

Plaintiffs in Iowa have received newsworthy settlements for patent infringement in the past. For example, The Gazette received $9.5 million after settling its lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Iowa

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 Iowa 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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