Patent Law in Seattle, WA

No entrepreneur or inventor, after giving countless hours and expense to their creation, should risk their work and property because of improper filing or a missed deadline. Patent law is a very particular section of the law. Therefore, you should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney in Seattle to make sure you protect what is yours, and 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 off of something for which you have a patent.

Seattle inventors and designers that are looking to protect their intellectual property from bad faith actors will most likely file with the Silicon Valley Regional Office located in San Jose, California. The University of Washington also provides certain materials to inventors in the attempt to simplify the patent process. However, none of this should be construed as legal advice. For sound legal advice you should seek the counsel of an experienced patent attorney in Seattle.

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

Seattle, WA 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 Seattle WA

The process of applying for a patent in Seattle, Washington 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 U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides a full guide to filing patents and trademarks for Seattle residents. You’ll need to determine whether or not your intellectual property qualifies for a patent or trademark. You’ll also need to:

  • Determine which type of patent you need
  • Assess if this particular invention or design already exists
  • Provide thorough documentation of your work in creating the property
  • File your patent application
  • Respond to any objections the patent examiner may have

Seattle inventors can use the Patent and Trademark Resource Center, located on the campus of the University of Washington, to conduct their preliminary research. However, it may be in your best interest to retain an experienced patent attorney in Everett. He or she can help you file and be certain that no time is wasted by improperly filing.

When Should I Hire a Qualified Seattle, Washington Patent Lawyer?

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

Patent trolling has become problematic in Seattle, and throughout the U.S. This is a process where a group or individual lays in wait to file a patent, or claim an expiring patent, with the sole purpose of holding it hostage. The patent troll will then attempt to sell the patent back to the owner or corporation. KIRO7 reports that the Washington Attorney General has filed suits against a company that has built its business on patent trolling smaller companies. The AG has called the practice predatory.

Patent infringement is not always malicious. In fact, it can be that someone is infringing upon your patent rights without knowing it. But you are still entitled to relief, and even monetary damages if you have lost money due to the infringement. An experienced patent attorney in Seattle can help you navigate the process of enforcing your patent rights.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Seattle, Washington

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

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