Patent Law in Montana

According to PC Magazine, the inventor of karaoke never patented his idea. Today, this casual singing activity among friends is a national pastime in Japan. When you believe that you have an invention that can rival karaoke, how do you protect it? How much do you think it could be worth to your wallet and career?

Inventors in Montana that can make it through the application gauntlet can change their lives forever. But, you may need some help along the way. Allow yourself five minutes today to find out how a patent attorney can help secure your success.

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 nearest physical USPTO office to Montana is the Rocky Mountain Regional Office. But, the Montana Tech Library has some resources available to 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

Montana 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 Montana

The process of applying for a patent in Montana 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.

Current data from the federal government suggests 19.4 months will pass before a first office action. However, the total pendency has an estimate of 24 months. As a result, it can take patent seekers in Montana years to finish getting a patent.

More tasks that you may need assistance from a patent attorney to complete are:

  • Find out if you have a patentable idea
  • Decide which type of patent you should apply for
  • Prep for your application with legal counsel
  • Complete and submit your paperwork to the USPTO
  • Respond to requests from an examiner to fix omissions

When Should I Hire an Experienced Montana Patent Lawyer?

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

As reported by Entrepreneur Magazine, there are numerous reasons to hire an attorney for a patent application. Primary motivators for previous Montana inventors include not wasting time or money. The process can be grueling, and having experience on your side can be of tremendous benefit. Often, a patent attorney is practically mandatory if you need to protect a patent from infringement. From cease and desist letters to courtroom battles, you’re going to want sound legal counsel.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Montana

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 Montana 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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