Patent Law in St. Louis, MO

HEC Media lists the long history of inventors and inventions in St. Louis. In fact, Ice cream cones and 7-UP were both invented in St. Louis. In addition, St. Louis inventors are responsible for improvements to breast pumps, the 8-track stereo, and designs for the Lear Jet. If you are an inventor in St. Louis, and you’re looking to bring a new invention to market, you should be sure to protect it with a patent.

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.

St. Louis inventors and designers seeking the protection of a patent for their intellectual property will most likely file their patent application with the Midwest Regional Office of the USPTO. In addition, the St. Louis Public Library offers services to inventors as an approved resource connected to the USPTO.

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

St. Louis, MO 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 St. Louis MO

The process of applying for a patent in St. Louis, 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 St. Louis Patent and Trademark Resource Center provides a thorough breakdown of the patent process in Missouri. The Resource Center is able to offer assistance with patent research, as well as provide literature approved by the USPTO. In addition, they can provide informational volumes to try and simplify the process for you. However, they are in no position to offer or give legal advice to anyone pursuing a patent application. For such advice, you may want to seek out an experienced patent attorney in St. Louis.

When Should I Hire a Qualified St. Louis, 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 St. Louis 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 St. Louis Record details a patent lawsuit brought against Washateria, a laundry service in St. Louis. The technology in question has to do with cashless cards that the laundry service was using for its payment process. The lawsuit has been filed by Upaid Systems Ltd., a corporation based out of the Virgin Islands.

Patent infringement is not uncommon. If you run into this problem it may be beneficial to have an experienced St. Louis patent attorney by your side. He or she can help you navigate the patent process, as well as help enforce your patent rights, if necessary.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri

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

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