FAQ – Patents U.S.

PROTECTING MY INVENTION IN THE UNITED STATES

How long does a patent right last?

There are three different types of patents in the U.S. and all have limited durations, the longest lasting approximately twenty years from the date that the inventors applied for the patent. Unlike other types of intellectual property rights, patents eventually expire and the technology disclosed in the document becomes public domain for all to use freely. During the time that the patent is enforceable, however, a patent owner, or an exclusive licensee with all substantial rights in the patent, may file suit in federal court to seek both injunctive relief and damages.

Are there different types of patents?

Yes. There are three different types of patents. Utility patents, design patents and plant patents.

What does a utility patent cover?

Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.

What does a design patent cover?

Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.

What does a plant patent cover?

Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.