Patent Law in Winston-Salem, NC

Despite its name, Texas Pete hot sauce was pioneered in Winston-Salem by TW Garner Food Company. It has grown from humble beginnings to the 3rd best selling hot sauce in the U.S. today. Inventors and designers in Winston-Salem that are looking to bring their inventions to market should consider having the protection of a patent. You may also want to seek out the advice of an experienced patent attorney in Winston-Salem.

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.

Designers and creators in Winston-Salem that are filing for patent protection can file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO Headquarters are the most likely location where Winston-Salem residents will file their applications. In addition, the USPTO provides resources such as patent classes to educate inventors on the patent process. As well it offers investor workshops that seek to bring entrepreneurs and inventors together.

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

Winston-Salem, 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 Winston-Salem NC

The process of applying for a patent in Winston-Salem, 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.

Inventors in Winston-Salem can take full advantage of the resources provided by the James B. Hunt Patent Library located on the campus of North Carolina State University. Research is an important part of the patent filing process, and should be taken very seriously. You’ll need to be certain that your invention is novel and non-obvious so that you can qualify for patent protection.

In addition, you’ll have to determine the type of patent necessary, and make certain that a patent does not already exist for a similar invention. You should also never seek legal advice from those working in a library or research facility. While they may be well meaning, you should only take legal advice from an experienced patent attorney in Winston-Salem.

When Should I Hire a Qualified Winston-Salem, 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 Winston-Salem 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.

The Winston-Salem Times reports that 21 patents were granted to Winston-Salem inventors in April of 2022 alone. Several were procured by Wake Forest University and B/E Aerospace alone. In addition, Rai Strategic Holdings amassed 7 patents in the month of April.

Patent protection does not guarantee that an individual or entity will not use or misuse your creation. But it does give you the ability to stand on your protective rights should your creation and rights be abused. An experienced patent attorney in Winston-Salem can help should these circumstances ever befall you.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

A patent attorney provides a great service in assisting with securing and managing your patent. You should meet with a qualified Winston-Salem 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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