Patent Law in Knoxville, TN

Tennessee is the birthplace of several inventions, such as cotton candy and touchscreen monitors. Knoxville in particular was the birthplace of the Dempster Dumpster. Originally designed to aid in the hauling of construction materials, the dumpster became the precursor for what we know as the modern day garbage collection system. If you are seeking to bring an invention to the world, you may want to seek the counsel of an experienced Knoxville patent attorney to protect yourself and your work.

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.

Knoxville residents who wish to protect their work with a patent or trademark will most likely file with the USPTO Texas Regional Office that oversees the state of Tennessee. However, the USPTO does provide regional support for those residing in the state. The Stevenson Science and Engineering Library is listed as a resource for inventors. The library is located on the campus of Vanderbilt University.

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

Knoxville, TN 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 Knoxville TN

The process of applying for a patent in Knoxville, Tennessee 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.

Tennessee Patents is an invaluable resource tool for inventors in Knoxville seeking to bring their work to market. They offer a thorough overview of how to approach your application. The overview provides information regarding:

  • Qualifications for inventors
  • Qualifications for inventions
  • Patent Training
  • Research
  • Pre-application checklist

Remember, if you bring your invention to market before it is patented, then you will only have 1 year to complete the patent process. Perhaps your best course of action is to seek the counsel of a Knoxville patent attorney. He or she can help you navigate the entire process and prevent filing mistakes.

When Should I Hire a Qualified Knoxville, Tennessee Patent Lawyer?

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

X-Wing Bicycle Seats created a patented design for their company, according to ABC News 6. However, certain sellers on Amazon have co-opted the design and are selling knock-off versions of the brand. X-Wing is currently involved in a patent lawsuit against both the sellers, and Amazon for allowing the sellers to operate.

Unfortunately we live in a world where stories such as these, while not the norm, are still quite common. You have every right to protect your work, and enforce your patent rights should the need arise. An experienced patent attorney in Knoxville can help you if someone infringes on your patent rights.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee

A patent attorney provides a great service in assisting with securing and managing your patent. You should meet with a qualified Knoxville attorney to discuss how he or she can help you. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Tennessee 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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