Patent Law in Memphis, TN

Memphis is a hotbed of activity for inventors and designers. The University of Memphis was recently awarded patents in the areas of wireless sensors, a.i. Tutoring systems, and even a method for detecting bioavailable drug concentrations. Memphis inventors should take caution, and be sure to patent their work before bringing it to market.

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.

Memphis 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 provides regional support for those residing in the state. The Stevenson Science and Engineering Library is listed as a resource for inventors. You can also use the resources available at the Memphis Law Library.

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

Memphis, 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 Memphis TN

The process of applying for a patent in Memphis, 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 Memphis inventors and designers that wish 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
  • Patent Training
  • Qualifications for inventions
  • 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 patent attorney in Memphis. He or she can help you navigate the entire process and prevent filing mistakes.

When Should I Hire a Qualified Memphis, 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 Memphis 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.

According to WBJJ News, as recently as 2013, Memphis was the metro leader of patented work for the state of Tennessee. There were 311 patents granted to Memphis inventors in 2013. One of these patents was an algorithm for reading biometric data when using an enrollment procedure.

If you decide to bring your invention to market before you receive a patent, you open yourself to several consequences. None of them are good. You run the risk of having another try to patent your work. You also start a countdown, as the government requires you to receive a full patent 1 year from the date you bring your work to market.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Memphis, Tennessee

A patent attorney provides a great service in assisting with securing and managing your patent. You should meet with a qualified Memphis 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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