Patent Law in Nebraska

Interesting Engineering lists robotic bees, 3D-printed airplanes, and super drones as some of the most fascinating recent inventions. Do you have an idea that you’d like to add to that list?

Whether you’re innovating how the world works or the processes for your business, patents are critical. They can also be an expensive and extensive legal protection to obtain. If you’re preparing for this journey, consider the information below before taking off.

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.

While you’ll submit your application online, you have a few options for help from physical locations. For example, the nearest USPTO office to Nebraska is the Rocky Mountain Regional Office. Additionally, you can research patents through the Schmid Law Library.

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

Nebraska 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 Nebraska

The process of applying for a patent in Nebraska 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 USPTO identifies five stages to a patent’s lifecycle. Generally, the steps that Nebraskans may want a patent attorney to help with include:

  • Learning about patents
  • Preparing an application
  • File paperwork and pay fees
  • Going through the examination process
  • Maintaining the legal protection until its term expires

When Should I Hire an Experienced Nebraska Patent Lawyer?

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

In particular, a patent attorney in Nebraska has to be an expert in patentability. They need this skill to present their client’s case in court. As written by Investopedia, they also have to pass the USPTO bar exam.

Even after a short consultation, you should have a reasonable impression of the path forward. Some of the questions you may want to ask to gain confidence in deciding to hire are:

  • Exactly what would be the benefits of applying for a patent?
  • What type of clients do you usually have?
  • Have you had a patent become subject to litigation in the past?
  • What are the risks in filing for this patent?

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Nebraska

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 Nebraska 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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