Patent Law in Tennessee

Did you know that tow trucks, touch screens, and even the atomic bomb exist thanks to Tennessee?

Adding your invention to this list could change your life and spark new enterprises. But, to accomplish this feat, you’ll need a lock-tight patent. Find out what essentials you need to know and how legal counsel can help you by reading this article.

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.

The nearest location that can offer some help to inventors in Tennessee is the Texas Regional Office. Furthermore, Vanderbilt University has a library dedicated to science and engineering research.

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

Tennessee 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 Tennessee

The process of applying for a patent in Tennessee 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. Department of Commerce is careful to remind applicants that not all useful or new inventions receive patents. As a result, inventors in Tennessee have to present a novel concept without errors to gain this legal protection.

The step-by-step process that must happen flawlessly, with or without a patent attorney, is the following:

  • Decide which intellectual property protection to pursue
  • Conduct research to determine if you have a patentable invention
  • Choose the patent you need to protect your concept
  • Make preparations to complete the application
  • Finish and submit the necessary documents to the USPTO
  • Respond to feedback from a federal examiner
  • Pay maintenance fees promptly when necessary

When Should I Hire an Experienced Tennessee Patent Lawyer?

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

An attorney is also necessary when it comes to patent infringement. U.S. law allows for injunctive relief and other legal remedies to limit the damage this can cause. But, the ultimate result may be taking your case to civil court.

Depending on the violation, you and your business can receive thousands or millions in damages. When your enterprise depends on having a proprietary patent, it needs defending by dedicated legal counsel.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Tennessee

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 Tennessee 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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