A patent is an exclusive right granted by the government to an inventor to make, use, or sell his or her invention for a limited period of time. The rights are granted so that the inventor has control over the use of his or her invention and is able to make money from it.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues patents in all areas of technology, including computer science, mechanical engineering, food technology and medical devices. The USPTO grants patents for both improvements on existing inventions as well as entirely new invention ideas.
Patents are separate from trademarks and copyright protection because they apply only to the specific item or process described in the patent document.
When a patent is granted, it means that no one else can make use of the invention without permission from the inventor. The patent holder has 20 years to exclusively sell and distribute his or her product in exchange for royalties. Once this period has elapsed, however, other companies may begin making use of the technology.
When a patent expires, it is no longer valid. However, the invention itself may still be protected by trademark law or copyright law. In order to apply for a patent, an inventor must submit his or her idea in writing along with drawings and diagrams that illustrate how the device works.
There are patenting agencies, like InventHelp, that can assist you in drafting your application if you are having trouble coming up with a comprehensive description of the invention. The patenting process can take several months, but it is well worth the time and effort. Patent protection ensures that no other company may copy your product or make use of its technology without permission from the inventor.
The patent process may seem daunting, but it is well worth the effort. It can take several months to complete your application, but the end result is a valuable piece of property that will protect your invention for years to come.