Patent Law in Missouri

Patent attorneys in Missouri are ready to help you safeguard your designs and intellectual property. It is not uncommon for those with an inventive or entrepreneurial spirit to go it alone when filing for a patent. But, a mistake or slip could cause delays. This could allow another to patent your idea or invention first.

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 USPTO has offices in both St. Louis and Kansas City that Missouri inventors can use to file patents and protect their work. These offices allow inventors to access workshops, as well as networking events that help bring their work to entrepreneurs, as well as the market as a whole.

The Missouri Revisor of Statutes cautions all inventors to refrain from making money off their inventions until it has been properly patented. Commercializing inventions before they are properly patented can open you up to theft. It can also trigger patent deadlines, and prevent you from commercializing your invention in other countries. Certain countries demand a patent before a new product is introduced to the populace.

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

Missouri 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 Missouri

The process of applying for a patent in Missouri 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 University of Missouri provides an online guide for the 3 types of patents; utility, design, and plant. It is very important that you do your research and be sure that your invention or design doesn’t already exist. The Missouri Eastern District Court also provides an in-depth guide to the patent filing process. You should:

  • Document your work, either in writing or on video
  • Make sure your invention qualifies for a patent
  • Conduct a patent search
  • Consult with an experienced patent attorney

The Intellectual Property Appendix also stresses that your intellectual property is not limited to a patent. According to Missouri Law, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, and service marks are all protected under the same regulations.

When Should I Hire an Experienced Missouri Patent Lawyer?

There are multiple reasons to hire a patent attorney. If you want the assurance of having someone acting on your behalf, then  Missouri 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 University of Missouri Kansas City states that holding a patent gives you the right to exclude others from commercializing your invention or intellectual property. However, there are times where bad actors may try to do this even though you hold the patent. This is when an experienced attorney in Missouri can help you hold your ground and protect your work. You may even be entitled to monetary damages for someone blatantly using your property.

AP News reports that the University of Missouri recently settled a patent lawsuit for an undisclosed sum. The University developed a new treatment for dry eye that was stolen by Professor Ashim Mitra. Mitra sold the formula for $1.5 million, and was set to receive much more in royalties.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Missouri

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 Missouri state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!

How It All Works

Call us or answer the questions on this site. Your category, location, and additional information will help us connect you to a legal professional and we’ll send you the results instantly.

Which Areas of Law?

We have attorneys in over 20 legal categories to choose from.

How Much Does This Cost?

We don’t charge you to be connected. Some legal categories require upfront fees while others do not. The legal professional will determine this with you before you commit to anything.