Patent Law in West Virginia

Inventors in West Virginia should seriously consider seeking the counsel of a patent attorney to protect their property. Many have lost their creative ownership through mistakes such as filing improperly, or bringing their invention to market before it was protected.

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.

Many inventors and entrepreneurs in West Virginia should look to the Morgantown branch of the U.S. Patent and Trade Office when establishing protections for their intellectual property. The USPTO offers classes and events that help to educate inventors on the process of acquiring a patent. In addition, a Regional Breakdown is available for all inventors in the state. This shows the number of new inventions that have come out of West Virginia from 2000 to 2015.

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

West 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 West Virginia

The process of applying for a patent in West 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.

Online patent forms and applications are provided by the West Virginia Secretary of State for inventors. However, it is critical that all patent materials be filed correctly, and promptly. For this reason you may wish to retain the services of an experienced patent attorney in West Virginia, Especially if time is a factor with bringing your invention or design to market.

The West Virginia Office of Technology allows you to use its resources to research the type of patent needed, and to see if this invention already exists. In addition, you must correctly determine if your invention requires a patent. There are currently over 9 million patents that exist in the U.S. Be certain to be thorough in your research before you file.

When Should I Hire an Experienced West 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  West 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.

Metro News states that a small change to the patent laws in West Virginia affects all the citizens’ lives for the better. LexMark was attempting to sue companies that were recycling their empty ink cartridges and repurposing them. The lawsuit was thrown out of court, which allows the continued use of refurbishing and repurposing older corporate items. This decreases waste and creates a cleaner economy.

While it is understandable that many wish to avoid conflict over certain matters, you should always enforce your patent rights. Bad faith actors exist, and will take advantage of you if you allow them to do so. But an experienced West Virginia patent attorney can help protect what’s yours. In addition, if you are entitled to monetary damages, your attorney can pursue these. Along with court costs and attorney’s fees.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in West 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 West 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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