Patent Law in Wilmington, NC

Inventors residing in Wilmington, NC should take every step available to protect their work. One of these steps is to patent your invention or design. However, navigating this patent process can be difficult and time consuming. As such, you may want to hire an experienced Wilmington patent attorney to help you protect your intellectual property.

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, NC residents who wish to protect their intellectual property with a patent will most likely file their application with the Headquarters of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO offices provide workshops for inventors that can help guide them through the various steps and processes of filing in the state. In addition, an inventor index is provided that shows a county by county breakdown of patents filed. There were 637 patents received by residents of New Hanover County between 2000 and 2015.

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, NC 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 NC

The process of applying for a patent in Wilmington, North Carolina 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 New Hanover County Library provides resources for inventors to conduct patent research in Wilmington. Wilmington, NC inventors can also take full advantage of the libraries on the campuses of the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University. You’ll need to determine whether or not your invention qualifies for a patent. Then you’ll need to determine what type of patent you’re required to file; utility, design, or plant. If questions or problems arise, do not attempt to seek legal advice from library employees. An experienced patent attorney in Wilmington can help you navigate this process.

When Should I Hire a Qualified Wilmington, North Carolina 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.

PR Newswire reports that a patent suit between Hensler Surgical Products and Tobra Medical can proceed. The suit was delayed as Tobra challenged the validity of the patent received by Hensler regarding a proprietary bone basket. This invention allows surgeons to collect and filter autologous bones and fragments during surgery.

If your patent rights are infringed upon, you will require an experienced patent attorney in Wilmington to make sure your rights are upheld. In addition, your Wilmington patent attorney will be able to pursue monetary damages if you have lost money due to the infringement.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina

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 North Carolina 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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