Patent Law in Michigan

You should never risk your intellectual property because of improper filing. Patent law is a very particular section of the law. Therefore, you should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney in Michigan to make sure you get the full credit you deserve.

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.

Michigan is home to both statewide and regional branches of the United States Patent and Trademark Offices. In fact, Michigan is home to the Midwest Regional USPTO which officially opened in 2012 in Detroit. This regional office services to Iowa, Illinois. Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. This office was named in the America Invents Act, and was established to increase outreach for patent applicants.

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

Michigan 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 Michigan

The process of applying for a patent in Michigan 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.

Promptly and correctly filing your patent is instrumental in retaining the full rights and creative control of your creation. lists the steps to correctly filing your patent. Ideally, you should:

  • Research to make certain your idea hasn’t already been patented
  • Hire a patent attorney
  • Determine the type of patent you’ll need
  • File for a provisional patent
  • Become a registered eFiler
  • Research and complete your formal application

Triangle IP offers a few further tips when seeking to hire a patent attorney. You should seek out a Michigan patent attorney that is licensed to file before the USPTO. However, you might also consider if the attorney has a background in the type of patent you need, such as artistic licenses or technology. It is also important to search for a patent attorney that can offer you strategic guidance through this process.

When Should I Hire an Experienced Michigan Patent Lawyer?

There are multiple reasons to hire a patent attorney. If you want the assurance of having someone acting on your behalf, then  Michigan 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 Michigan Law Library provides a Trademark and Copyright Journal that helps inventors as they do their patent research. While part of the entrepreneurial spirit is to do things on your own, it’s always wise to consult an experienced patent attorney. If you experience patent infringement in Michigan, your patent attorney will be able to help you stand against such bad faith actors. In addition, you may be entitled to further compensation, such as monetary damages, court fees, or attorney’s fees.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Michigan

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 Michigan 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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