It is strongly encouraged for inventors to have a strategy in place for the patent protection of their invention. This starts from the beginning with the initial supply of documents all the way through the patent life span. This safety net gives you legal rights to your invention and prevents others from making, using, or selling it.
Patent Protection Length
The protection period depends on the type of patent. Utility patents offer patent protection for a period of 20 years. Design patents offer patent protection for a period of 14 years. And plant patents offer patent protection for a period of 20 years. All terms start from the application filing date. There is a good article about it – how to apply for a patent with InventHelp.
The term can be extended beyond the stated time frames to compensate the patent owner for delays. On the other hand, patents can expire for reasons other than they have reached the statutory period. It can range from not paying the required maintenance fees to being recalled by PTO for illegal conduct. An expired patent acts as a prior art reference and can be used by anyone without permission.
To Patent Or Not
Determining whether or not your idea needs patent protection is a personal decision. It does involve weighing the pro and cons of filing, enforcing, and maintaining your intellectual property rights. The application for filing a patent can be a lengthy and expensive process, particularly when most inventors find they need the assistance of InventHelp patent an idea agency or an attorney.
You also have to consider if patent law offers you more shelter than your state trade laws. You will need access to financial resources to cover your legal fees. Keep in mind, the maintenance fees that will have to be paid to during the patent term.