Protections available with a patent

Glenn W. Peterson

Many individuals and companies in California have led the way in the development of key technologies, processes and products in their respective markets. If you have created a new item or way of making something that is very new, you might want to investigate the means available to you of protecting your work. A patent may well be what you need.

As explained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, there are three types of patents granted by the entity. One is for the development of a new botanical plant through asexual reproductive methods. Another is a patent for the design of a new product to be produced. The third is a patent for the invention of a new product, machine or process itself. This is called a utility patent.

Patents issued by the USPTO are only valid within the jurisdiction of the USPTO. If protections are desired in other countries, those must be applied for separately. There is no single patent that offers global protection. Design patents are valid for 14 years from the date they are granted while utility patents are valid for 20 years from the date of application. Within these time frames, other entities are barred from using, selling, making or importing the protected items or processes.

If you would like to learn more about the types of patents that may be granted and what protections they provide to the holders of the patents, please feel free to visit the innovation protections page of our California intellectual property website.