A patent is a grant of an exclusive property right by the government to the inventor to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention for the duration of the patent.
There are four primary types of patents:
The most common type of patent is a Utility Patent. A utility patent covers new and useful process, machine, manufacture, compositions of matter (such as chemical compositions and compounds) or any subsequent new and useful improvement thereof. The utility patent is valid for twenty years from the date of filing of the patent application.
A design patent protects the ornamental features of an invention. A design patent is valid for fourteen years from the filing date of the application.
A provisional patent application provides a one-year period to further develop the invention, determine marketability and seek licensing agreements. Within 12 months of the filing date of the provisional application, a non-provisional patent application based on the information contained in the provisional application must be filed. If no further action is taken within the 12 months, the patent is invalidated and the priority date is lost.
A plant patent protects an asexually reproduced distinct and new variety of plant. The plant patent is valid for twenty years from the filing date of the application.
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