Patent Law in Tampa, FL

WTSP identifies these as the top three inventions from Florida: sunscreen, Gatorade, and air conditioning.

Do you think you have a product that can find its place among these innovations? Obtaining a patent for its creation can help you get there. But, even the most experienced can struggle to convince examiners they have a novel idea.

As with most things worth earning in life, you need to know the basics. You’ll find that and more by reading this article today!

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.

Inventors from Tampa who want to ask questions can consult with the USPTO headquarters. Another resource to take advantage of is the PTRC at the University of Central Florida Library.

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

Tampa, FL 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 Tampa FL

The process of applying for a patent in Tampa, Florida 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 government has an Application Assistance Unit that can help inventors with parts of the documentation. But, they do not provide legal advice or help you maximize your odds based on experience with examiners. Tampa residents will need to rely on a patent attorney for those needs.

The total life cycle for a patent from start to finish includes:

  • Finding out if it makes more sense to apply for a patent, copyright, or trademark
  • Determining through research whether your invention could receive legal protection
  • Identifying the correct type of patent – utility, design, or plant
  • Prepping a complete and effective application strategy with legal counsel
  • Finishing the necessary documents and paying fees according to the current schedule
  • Working on corrections and modifications based on feedback from an examiner
  • Documenting receipt of your Notice of Allowance upon approval
  • Paying maintenance fees promptly and filing for non-provisional status

When Should I Hire a Qualified Tampa, Florida Patent Lawyer?

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

An expanding reason why entrepreneurs need legal help is what Science Magazine calls patent trolling. While organizations have the right to defend their IPs, this phenomenon is arguably an abuse of the system. If your business in Tampa received a threatening letter, a consultation will help you understand its potential impact.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Tampa, Florida

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