Patent Law in Roanoke, VA

Do you, a family member, or a close friend enjoy hunting?

According to Northern Virginia Magazine, we wouldn’t have camouflage without an inventor from Roanoke. James H. Crumley created this pattern for hunters in 1969.

No matter your idea, there are volumes of laws that can apply. Accordingly, this article provides some essential information and identifies some legal options.

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.

The USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria offers one-on-one consultations to ask questions. Additionally, inventors from Roanoke can complete research through a Patent and Trademark Resource Center.

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

Roanoke, VA 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 Roanoke VA

The process of applying for a patent in Roanoke, Virginia 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.

There are initiatives and programs available to inventors from Roanoke through each stage. For example, you may want to take advantage of an Accelerated Examination or the Post-Prosecution Pilot.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggests that applicants wait 13 to 18 months before a response happens. Overall, it can take three or more years to secure a provisional patent. Once that’s completed, you may want to hire an attorney for a non-provisional application.

There is no legal requirement to have a patent attorney for this process. However, it’s often not practical to navigate these five stages without legal advice:

  • Researching and learning about prior applications
  • Preparing to complete the application
  • Remitting fees and sending documents
  • Going through the examination process
  • Renewing the right to intellectual property by paying fees

When Should I Hire a Qualified Roanoke, Virginia Patent Lawyer?

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

The expertise and expediency a lawyer offers are helpful in light of the first-to-file rule. The implication is what one might expect from the name. If you aren’t the first to apply, your odds of receiving a patent are quite low.

Additionally, companies in Roanoke may need to protect their intellectual property. Hiring legal counsel to protect your investment into your patent can be necessary to continued success.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Roanoke, Virginia

A patent attorney provides a great service in assisting with securing and managing your patent. You should meet with a qualified Roanoke attorney to discuss how he or she can help you. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Virginia 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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