Patent Law in Wilmington, DE

Did you know that Wilmington is home to the life-saving Heimlich maneuver?

Dr. Henry Heimlich saved the lives of many choking victims by inventing this medical procedure. No matter your innovations, you’ll likely need a patent to take your place in history. This article identifies the basics of patent law that will affect your application and the options you have to protect your IP.

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.

Wilmington residents with questions can consider a consultation with the USPTO headquarters in Virginia. They may also call upon the resources of the Newark Patent and Trademark Resource Center.

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

Wilmington, DE 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 Wilmington DE

The process of applying for a patent in Wilmington, Delaware 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.

Based on U.S. Department of Commerce reporting, it can take 30 months to finish the application process. Furthermore, inventors in Wilmington can wait over a year for the first office action by the USPTO.

Patent attorneys can help clients prevent wasting time or money during the current life cycle. From start to finish, they will assist with:

  • Checking for patentability through extensive research into previous applications
  • Prepping for the application by identifying and implementing a strategy
  • Filing completed documentation with the USPTO and paying fees
  • Responding to feedback from the government examiner reviewing your invention
  • Keeping the right to the intellectual property by paying renewals or filing for a non-provisional patent

When Should I Hire a Qualified Wilmington, Delaware Patent Lawyer?

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

Protecting your intellectual property from infringement can also be a reoccurring challenge. When you discover copycat products, the law entitles you to civil litigation.

However, the effect of different laws and regulations may apply in unexpected ways. For example, allegations focus on literal infringement or the Doctrine of Equivalents. Determining which applies appropriately will require the expertise of a patent attorney.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Wilmington, Delaware

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