Patent Law in Maryland

No one likes to plan for unfortunate events. But when it comes to defending your inventions or intellectual property, that is exactly what you should do. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. This is why it is in your best interest to engage the services of an experienced patent lawyer in Maryland to help you protect your intellectual property.

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 Maryland Branch of the United States Patent and Trademark Office offers assistance to residents who are wishing to protect their inventions or designs. Filing such a patent will allow you the legal avenue to defend yourself if a situation arises where someone tries to steal and use your intellectual property. However, Maryland residents should be aware of the total costs of preparing and filing for patents. Patent 360 lists these costs for you, breaking down the individual costs for different types of patents.

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

Maryland 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 Maryland

The process of applying for a patent in Maryland 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 Maryland People’s Law Library breaks down the application process for those living in the state. There are 3 types of patents you can apply for; a utility patent, a design patent, or a plant patent. The law library also offers and will walk you through patent services such as:

  • Provisional and non-provisional applications
  • Patent maintenance
  • Patent expiration
  • Infringement
  • Patent law in foreign countries

It’s important to understand the necessity behind the inventive spirit, and the patent laws that encourage such. So much so that The Daily Record states that the U.S. Army experts are advising Maryland young inventors on patent law. This advising session consisted of the experts taking kids through the patent process; from the idea stage to bringing the invention to market.

When Should I Hire an Experienced Maryland Patent Lawyer?

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

Reuters reports that a recent $137 million verdict against a company accused of patent infringement in Maryland has been overturned, and a new trial has been ordered. This patent lawsuit is based around proprietary technology in the service of diagnostics. These are the circumstances when it is best to have an experienced Maryland patent lawyer by your side.

If someone has callously infringed upon your protected property, not only are you entitled to immediate relief and stoppage, but you may be entitled to monetary compensation. In addition, any bad faith actor attempting to usurp your invention or intellectual property can also be forced to pay court costs, or attorney’s fees, or both.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Maryland

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 Maryland 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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