Patent Law in Virginia

We never want to think about someone taking advantage of us. But not everyone operates by the same morals. For this reason, you should protect your inventions and designs with a patent. An experienced Virginia patent attorney can help you achieve this. Learn more by reading the article below.

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 United States Patent and Trademark Office, which is headquartered in Virginia, operates under the mission to ensure the protection of intellectual property. Inventors in Virginia are encouraged to apply for trademarks and patents with the USPTO. This way, bad faith actors cannot take their work. In addition to providing this legal protection, the USPTO enables investors to participate in workshops and networking events. These events allow individuals to expand their market reach, and bring in new capital.

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

Virginia 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 Virginia

The process of applying for a patent in 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.

The University of Virginia School of Law offers a clinic for practical and instructional training in patents. However, it may be in your best interest to allow an experienced Virginia attorney to help you file for your patent. You can utilize the Virginia Law Library to help you research to make certain your invention requires a patent. You should also be certain that a patent does not already exist for this particular invention.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission also states that you must be in compliance with the Division of Securities and file a Service Mark TM 1 form.  You should remember that patents or trademarks filed for the state of Virginia are only valid within the state. In juxtaposition, filing and registering your patent or trademark nationally would protect your rights in all 50 states.

When Should I Hire an Experienced 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  Virginia 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.

Virginia Code disallows individuals or corporations from infringing upon your patent rights. Bloomberg Law reports that Virginia is set to hear a case in patent law revolving around a scientific breakthrough regarding amino acid chains. This amino acid chain is set to be a breakthrough in dealing with the longevity of plant life. It is of vital importance that you maintain your patent rights so that bad faith actors can not take advantage of you or your invention. If you feel your rights have been stepped on, you should enlist the services of an experienced Virginia patent attorney. Along with relief from the infringement, you may be entitled to court costs, and monetary damages.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Virginia

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 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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