Patent Law in Wisconsin

Without a properly executed patent, your inventions and designs can be stolen. But an experienced patent attorney in Wisconsin can help you protect your intellectual property. He or she can also help defend your work if someone infringes upon your patent.

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.

Those Wisconsin residents seeking to protect their intellectual property with a patent should file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Wisconsin. You could also use the Midwest Regional Office located in Detroit. The State of Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions also provides online forms for those wishing to protect their property with a trademark. However, they cannot give you legal advice. As such, you may be best served by engaging the services of an experienced patent attorney in Wisconsin.

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

Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin

The process of applying for a patent in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation provides an overview of the patent process, and offers help to those inventors who are seeking to protect their inventions. It should be noted that there are over 9 million patents in the U.S. alone. For this reason you will have to do a vast amount of research to be certain that your invention requires a patent, and that a patent does not already exist for a similar type of invention.

The Wisconsin State Law Library provides resources that allow you to conduct research of existing patents. You can also determine if you require a utility patent, a design patent, or a plant patent. You should remember that this is a process, and a single mistake can set back your timeline for approval. If someone files a patent for a similar device or design, and is approved before you, they will hold the patent rights. For this reason, you want to avoid any mistakes in filing. Your best bet to avoid those mistakes is with an experienced Wisconsin patent attorney.

When Should I Hire an Experienced Wisconsin Patent Lawyer?

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

PBS Wisconsin reports that Apple has been ordered to pay $506 million in a patent infringement case. Apple was fined $234 million for using proprietary technology that was protected. Apple continues to use the technology after the ruling, so an additional $272 million was ordered to be paid.

Whether it is an individual, or a global conglomerate, no one has the authority to violate your patent rights. If you feel that someone has overstepped and monetized your intellectual property, you should consider retaining the services of an experienced patent attorney in Wisconsin. Not only can you use an attorney to enforce your rights, but you may also be entitled to compensation. This can come in the form of monetary damages, court costs, or even attorney’s fees.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Wisconsin

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 Wisconsin 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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