Can you patent shoes?

Can You Patent Shoes?

If you've just finished working on a new shoe design, you might be wondering whether you can protect the design of your new shoes with a patent? The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows inventors of a new design to protect their design with a design patent. Design patents protect the aesthetic or ornamental appearance of an object. So, can you patent a pair of shoes that you've designed? Read below to find out.

Can you Patent Shoes?

To answer the question: can you patent shoes? Yes, you can patent shoes with either a utility patent or a design patent, depending on what aspects of the shoe you want to patent. If you have a pair of shoes that serve a specific function, such as enabling a basketball player to jump higher, your shoes may qualify for a utility patent. If, on the other hand, you have a pair of shoes that has a new and unique design, the shoes may qualify for a design patent.

Patenting shoes that you have with either a design patent or a utility patent, grants you the right to restrict others from using, making, selling, offering to sell, and importing the patented shoes to the United States for a limited period of time. Utility patents offer this protection for 20 years from the date you file your utility patent application with the patent office. Design patents offer 15 years of protection from the date the patent office grants a design patent application.

During the patent term, you will enjoy the exclusive right to use, make, and sell the shoes that you've invented, assuming it's legal to do so in your jurisdiction. During the patent term, you will be able to license the shoe design or shoe patent to third parties in exchange for a licensing fee. If you want to, you can also sell the patent in its entirety to another party.

If the pair of shoes that you want to protect serves a specific function, such as comfort or allowing people to jump higher, your shoes may qualify for a utility patent. Utility patents protect new and unique inventions that serve a specific purpose, if you can show this, the shoe you've created may qualify for a utility patent.

Patenting a new and unique shoe design that can be commercially successful, will allow you to profit from the shoe design for 15 years from the date the patent office grants your design patent application. If you're the only party offering the shoe with your unique design, you'll be able to freely compete without having to worry about competitors releasing a similar design.

In the event that your competitors copy your design, you will be able to stop them from doing so by suing them for design patent infringement in Federal Court. If they are indeed infringing upon your patent, the court may issue a court order, demanding that the copycat seize their infringing activities. So, how do you patent your new and unique shoe design? Read below to find out.

How to Patent Shoes?

Before applying for a patent, you need to determine which patent is appropriate for the shoes you want to patent. If your shoes have a unique function, you will want to apply for a utility patent. If, on the other hand, your shoes have a unique design, you will need to apply for a design patent.

In the event that the pair of shoes you want to protect have unique design and unique function, you can apply for dual protection by applying for both a utility patent and a design patent. The utility patent will protect the function of the shoes while the design patent will protect the unique design of the shoes.

Search

So, the first step you need to take before applying for a patent is performing a patent search to determine no else has patented the unique design or function of the shoes you want to patent. If you do not know how to perform a patent search, you might want to contact a patent attorney or patent agent to assist you with your search.

If you find that someone has patented shoes that are similar to yours, the patent office might reject your application. If there are no similar results, you may want to hire an attorney to prepare and file your design or utility patent application with the patent office.

Attorney or Agent

If you don't have experience preparing and filing patent applications, you will benefit greatly from hiring either a patent attorney or a patent agent to assist you with your patent application for the shoes you want to patent.

That said, the patent office does not require that you hire an attorney. You can prepare and file your patent application on your own and the USPTO will even offer some help with this. Just know that hiring a patent attorney or a patent agent will make your life a lot easier as they are experienced in dealing with the patent office.

Prepare Your Patent Application(s)

Once you've decided what type of patent is suitable to protect your intellectual property, you need to either prepare your patent application on your own or hire an attorney to prepare it on your behalf. If you decide to do it yourself, just make sure that you comply with all of the USPTO's requirements because making even minor mistakes could get your application rejected by the patent office, costing you more time and money.

Communication

After filing your application with the patent office, make sure that you respond to any communications from the patent office. The patent examiner may require more information or amendments to the application, so make sure you promptly reply to any letters you receive from the patent office.

Track Your Application

Make sure that you periodically check the status of your application with the patent office. The USPTO will issue you a patent serial number that you can use to track your patent application status with the patent office. By tracking your application, you will be notified if the patent office needs any additional information or amendments to your patent application.

Why is Patenting Your Shoe Important?

Patenting the functional aspects or appearance of your shoe is important because it allows you to restrict your competitors from selling a shoe that similar in function or appearance from the shoe that you've patented. If someone copies your invention or sells a similar shoe, you will be able to sue them for patent infringement in federal court.

That said, the patent office is not responsible for protecting your patent. You, as the patent holder, will have to monitor what you're competitors are doing and if you find that someone is infringing upon your patent, you will have to sue them in court for patent infringement. If your suit is successful, the court will grant you a court order, ordering your competitors to stop their infringing activities.

Benefits of Patenting the Design or Function of Your Invention (Shoes)

Here are some of the benefits of protecting your new shoe invention:

  • Utility patents offer broad protection over the functional aspects of your shoes
  • Design patents are relatively inexpensive to get
  • Having both a design patent and utility patent makes your intellectual property over the shoes more valuable
  • Ability to stop others from stealing your invention
  • Ability to exclusively profit from your invention for a limited period of time

When Should You Patent Your Invention?

The USPTO requires applicants for design and utility to patent to file a patent application with the patent office within one year of publicly disclosing their invention to the public, selling it, or offering it for sale. If an applicant does not file his patent application within the one year grace period, the applicant will be barred from patenting his invention and the USPTO will consider the disclosed patent prior art, falling within the public domain.

Make Them Sign a Confidentiality Agreement

If you need assistance on your invention from outside parties, you should tell them to sign a confidentiality agreement so that they will not disclose your invention to the public. In the event that they do disclose it, you should immediately file your patent application with the patent office. You can also sue them for breach of contract for violating the confidentiality agreement. But that doesn't change the fact that the clock on the one year grade period begins ticking and you have to file your patent application(s) within that time period.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Help you Patent Your Shoe Invention

The United States Patent and Trademark Office does not require applicants to be represented by an attorney to prepare and file their patent application. Applicants are free to prepare and file their patent application on their own.

That said, the patent office recommends that applicants hire an attorney to assist them with the preparation and filing their patent application, this is so because patent attorneys are experienced in all matters related to the preparation of applications, filing them, and communicating with the patent office. Having the assistance of an attorney will reduce the chances of your application being rejected by the USPTO.

Patenting Shoes

As previously mentioned, designers and inventors can protect their newly invented shoes by patenting them with the patent office. If the shoes you've invented have a unique function, you can protect that function by filing a utility patent application and if your shoes have a unique look, you can protect them by filing a design patent application. If the shoes you've invented have both a unique look and function, you can obtain dual protection, giving you the best possible IP protection. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


Can you patent jewelry?

Can You Patent Jewelry?

If you've been working on your new jewelry design and you've finally added the finishing touches to it, you're probably wondering if you can patent your new design?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows inventors to patent their new inventions, processes, and designs for a limited period of time. During this time, the patent holder is able to restrict others from making, using, selling, or offering to sell the patented design for a limited period of time. In the case of design patents, you'll enjoy a 15-year patent term that begins when the patent office grants your design patent application.

Can You Patent Jewelry?

The short answer is yes, you can patent jewelry. To patent a jewelry design, your design must be applied to a physical object. Patenting the design of your jewelry product protects the aesthetic appearance of the design, such as the ornamental aspect of an item of jewelry.

The process for applying for a design patent to protect the appearance of an item of jewelry takes between 16 months to 24 months, depending on the complexity of the design and how well you prepare your design patent application.

Patenting the design of your jewelry give yous intellectual property rights in your design, allowing you to restrict others from using, making, selling, or offering to sell an article of jewelry that's similar to the one you've patented.

If you have a jewelry design that's popular and commercially successful, you will be able to profit from your design for a limited period of time without having to worry about competitors making the same design.

If one of your competitors copies your design without your express permission, you will be able to sue them for patent infringement and stop them from selling the item that infringes upon your design.

How to Patent Jewelry?

  • Perform a Patent Search

    Before deciding to patent a piece of jewelry that has a new design, you should perform a design patent search with the USPTO to determine that no one else has already patented the jewelry design that you want to protect with a patent.

    If you do not know how to perform a patent search, you can hire an attorney to perform the search for you. Just know that an attorney will charge you for this service.

  • Hire an Attorney

    If you don't have experience preparing and filing design patent applications to patent your jewelry, it might be a good idea to hire a patent attorney to prepare and file a design patent application for your piece of jewelry.

    If you decide to prepare and file your design patent application alone, you will find previously published patents helpful in that you can see what terminology and how others before you have patented their new jewelry designs.

  • Prepare your Design Patent Application

    Once you've determined that no prior art exists for the item of jewelry that you want to patent, you can go ahead and begin preparing your design patent application. Just remember to follow the rules set forth by the USPTO because making even seemingly minor mistakes could get your design patent application rejected by the patent office, costing you more time and money to fix mistakes.
  • Design Patent Artwork

    Every design patent application must include drawings of the jewelry design that you want to patent. The artwork must be done in black inc on white paper and must be done according to the USPTO's rules. If you don't have experience creating drawings for design patent applications, you can hire a professional artist who specializes in patent office drawings, expect to pay between $50 to $100 per drawing. Your application may require up to 7 drawings. So, keep this in mind.
  • Communicate with your Patent Examiner

    After filing your design patent application for your jewelry design, the patent office or patent examiner may attempt to contact you regarding your patent application. Make sure that you have your design patent serial number, as well as the title of your design patent readily available because they may require this to discuss your patent application.

    Always respond or have your attorney respond to any communications or requests for information from the patent office. The patent examiner may need some additional information or may require amendments to your patent application, failing to reply to these notices may get your patent application rejected.

  • Make Any Necessary Amendments

    If the patent office or patent examiner requests that you make amendments to your patent application, make sure that you perform the amendments or changes within the allotted time. Failing to make the changes can get your application rejected.
  • Track the Status of Your Application

    Once you have filed your patent application with the USPTO, your application will be assigned a serial number, you should periodically check the status of your application using the USPTO website. This way, you'll know if the patent office needs any additional information.

Why are Jewelry Patents Important?

Patenting your new jewelry design is important because it allows you to exclusively benefit and profit from your jewelry design. If a party infringes upon your design patent by copying, using, selling, or offering to sell an item of jewelry that's similar to the one you've patented, you will be able to stop them from doing so by suing them for patent infringement.

Just remember that the USPTO will not police your jewelry patent for you. Instead, you will have to monitor your competitors to ensure that they're not selling an article of jewelry that's the same or similar to yours. If you determine that someone is copying your design, you can enforce your rights by suing them for patent infringement. If your suit is successful, you will be able to get a court order, ordering them to stop their infringing activities.

Benefits of Patenting a Jewelry Design

Here are some of the benefits of patenting your jewelry design:

  • Design patents grant you protection over the design of your item of jewelry
  • Design patents are relatively inexpensive
  • They are relatively easy to get
  • Ability to restrict others from copying your design
  • Ability to profit from your jewelry for a limited period of time (15 years)

When Shouldn't You Patent a Jewelry Design

You should not patent a jewelry design if any of the following apply:

  • Someone else has already patented the jewelry design you want to patent
  • Some else is already using the jewelry design
  • The application did not come up with the jewelry design
  • Your jewelry design does not have a new and unique look

Deadline to Patent Your Jewelry Design

Generally, to patent a design, in this case, your jewelry design, an applicant must file his patent application within one year of publicly disclosing the design, selling the item bearing the design, or offering the item for sale. If patenting your design is important to you, you should keep it as secret as possible prior to the patent office granting your patent application.

If you attempt to file a design patent with the USPTO after more than one year of disclosing your jewelry design, the patent office may reject your application on the grounds that your design is considered to be prior art, prohibiting you from patenting the design. So, keep your design secret until the patent office grants your patent.

Protecting Your Jewelry Design

If you're working on your jewelry design and you need the assistance of an outside party, ask them to sign a confidentiality agreement. This agreement will prohibit them from publicly disclosing your design. That said, confidentiality agreements are not perfect and sometimes people break them. In the event that a party breaks the confidentiality agreement, you can take legal action against them for violating it.

Should You Hire an Attorney to Patent Your Jewelry Design?

The USPTO does not require applicants to hire an attorney to file a design patent application to protect a jewelry design, hiring one is highly recommended. The patent office has a lot of rules that need to be followed and making a mistake could cost you time and money. So, having an attorney will reduce the chances of a mistake.

From the estimates that we've seen, patent attorneys charge between $2,500 to $3,500 for preparing and filing a design patent application. That said, your attorney may charge you more if he needs to communicate with the patent office on your behalf or if he needs to make amendments to your patent application.

If you cannot afford a patent attorney, you may benefit from hiring a patent agent. Patent agents are qualified and licensed by the USPTO to perform patent-related tasks. These tasks include preparing your patent application, filing it with the patent office, and communicating with the patent office on your behalf. They charge less money than patent attorneys while offering services very similar to patent attorneys.

Patenting Jewelry

This article answered the question of whether you can patent jewelry. By now you probably know that you can as long as the design you're seeking to patent is new and unique. We also covered the costs associated with patenting an item of jewelry. Jewelry patents are great to protect new jewelry designs and they are relatively inexpensive. If you have any general questions or comments concerning jewelry patents, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


Can you patent a phrase?

Can You Patent a Phrase?

If you've just finished working on a great phrase to advertise your business, you're probably wondering whether you can protect that phrase with a patent. Intellectual property law in the United States offers protection to many forms of artistic works including catchy phrases. So, can you patent a phrase? We will answer this below.

Can You Patent a Phrase?

The short answer is no, you cannot patent a phrase. Patent law does not offer protection to an inventor of a phrase. However, you can protect your phase under trademark law by trademarking it with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). That said, before seeking to register your phrase with the patent office, you should conduct a trademark search to ensure that no one else has registered the phrase as a trademark with the USPTO.

Why Can't you Patent a Phrase?

Phrases do not qualify for patent protection because patent law protects new and unique inventions, machines, processes, and designs. Patent law does offer protection for phrases. Phrases that function as an identifier for the source of goods or services are protected under trademark law. So, the question you should be asking is: how do you trademark your phrase?

How to Trademark Your Phrase?

You can trademark your phrase by heading over to the USPTO Online Trademark Application and filling out the required information, once you've filled out the required info, you need to file your application online and pay the required trademark office fees.

Just make sure you're ready to provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • Name of business if applicable
  • Phone number
  • Add the phrase you want to protect
  • Assign a class for your trademark
  • How the phrase will be used

Once you have filled out the trademark application, go over it to make sure that you've filled out everything correctly, once you've done so submit the application. Once you click to submit the application, you will be prompted to pay the filing fee. The USPTO currently charges $225 for each class of trademark. For example, if you're filing to protect the phrase for a shirt and shoes, expect to pay for two classes. If you're only seeking to protect it for shirts, expect to pay $225.

Once you've completed filing your application and paid the required trademark office fees, the trademark office will send you a confirmation receipt that contains your filing date, as well as the serial number for your trademark. You can use the serial number in the email to check the status of the application by entering it at USPTO.com.

Reasons to Trademark Your Phrase

  1. Brand Recognition

    Protecting your trademark allows you to become the only person using that phrase, with time customers will begin to associate the protected phrase with your business, increasing the brand recognition associated with your trademark.

    If you don't register your phrase with the trademark office, other parties may use your phrase, if this happens it will lose its power to identify you as the source of the goods or services you're offering. Therefore, trademark your phase and let it signal to customers that it refers to your or your business.

  2. Protection from Theft

    By registering your trademark with the trademark office, you will be able to restrict others from using your trademark. Also, if any of your competitors want to use the phrase you've registered, your registration of it will give them a reason not to use it.

    If they see it's registered with the trademark office, they'll know that you've taken steps to protect your intellectual property. That said, for competitors to know that you've registered your trademark, all you have to do is include the registered symbol ® on the phrase you've trademarked.

  3. Validity

    Registering your phrase with the trademark office gives your phrase a presumption of validity that extends beyond the geographic location in which you're using the trademark. This is important for businesses that intend to expand their business beyond their current geographical location or business that are online.
  4. Appeal to Customers

    If you have a catchy phrase that your customers like, protecting it with a trademark is extremely important because it provides value to your business. When customers remember your phrase, protecting it so that customers associate it only with you is extremely important and valuable.
  5. Legal Protection

    Protecting your trademark by registering it with the trademark office allows you to sue anyone that uses the phrase without your permission. Registration also increases the likelihood of success in a trademark infringement lawsuit. This is so because trademark registration creates a presumption of validity, shifting the burden of proof to the other party to show that your phrase does not identify you as the source of goods or services. If you prevail in a lawsuit, you will be able to collect damages against the other party to the suit.

Steps to Trademark a Phrase

To trademark your phrase, you need to follow the following steps:

  • Choose a Phrase

    Choosing the phrase that you want to register is the first and most important step for your business. This is so because the phrase that you choose is probably going to be the phrase that you invest your time and money in marketing to your customers, so make sure that no one else has already trademarked the phrase.

    Choose a good phrase because you wouldn't want to invest time and money into it and then change it. So, find something that's available and suits your business. Ask your friends and family what they think of it, there comments and advise could offer some valuable insights.

  • Perform a Trademark Search

    After choosing a suitable phrase, run a trademark search using the USPTO's trademark search tool. Make sure that no one else has registered the phrase that you want to trademark. If the search returns no results, you're good to go. If the search turns up the same or similar results, you're better off choosing a new phrase to trademark.
  • Prepare and File Your Trademark Application

    After choosing a phrase that hasn't been trademarked, it's time to prepare your trademark application. You can do so online at the USPTO.gov website. Click on register a trademark, read the instructions, and enter the required information.

    If you find that using the USPTO website is complicated, you can choose to have a third party help you register your trademark. Services like Legal Zoom, Trademark Engine, and Nolo can assist you in registering your trademark for a small fee that ranges from $200 to $500.

  • Check the Status of Your Application

    After preparing and filing your trademark application, the patent office will provide you with a serial number. You can use this serial number to check on the status of your application. In some circumstances, the patent office will require amendments or changes to your application, so it's important to periodically check your trademark's status.

How Much Does it Cost to Trademark a Phrase?

Registering a phrase as a trademark costs $275 per class if you register the trademark on your own with the USPTO. If you need the assistance of an attorney to register your trademark, trademark attorneys charge between $1,000 to $2,000 to prepare and file your trademark application. That said, in some circumstances, the attorney may charge you more if he needs to communicate with the trademark office or make amendments to your trademark application.

Trademark fees include the following:

  • Filing fees for the trademark application
  • Trademark attorney fees
  • Fees for maintaining the trademark

Some attorneys charge a flat fee for preparing and filing your trademark application. These fees range between $300 to $1000 per trademark application. If you want to use some of the online legal services that we listed above, expect to pay between $200 to $500 to file your patent application with the USPTO, however, remember that you will need to fill out the information on your trademark by yourself on their website and they'll file the trademark on your behalf.

Can You Protect Your Phrase in Any Other Way?

Unfortunately, no. The only way to protect your phrase is by trademarking it. Copyright protection does not protect titles, names, slogans, or phrases. So, if you have a phrase you want to protect, the only way to do it is by preparing and filing a trademark application with the USPTO.

What Can You Do If Someone Uses Your Trademarked Phrase?

If a person or business uses your exact phrase or a confusingly similar phrase, you might be able to sue them for trademark infringement. As part of the suit, you will need to prove that someone in your industry is using your exact phrase or a phrase that's confusing similar to the one you've trademarked. If you can show this, you can get a court order, ordering to stop them from using your trademarked phrase.

Patenting a Phrase

As previously mentioned, phrases cannot be patented. Patent law protects new inventions, machines, processes, and designs. Patent protection does not apply to phrases or slogans. However, you can protect your phrase by trademarking it with the patent office. We covered some of the costs associated with trademarking your phrase. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


can you patent a food recipe?

Can You Patent a Recipe?

If you've been toiling away in the kitchen, and you've created the absolutely best cheesecake or French chicken casserole, you might be wondering if you can protect your creation by patenting your awesome recipe?

The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) grants inventors (in this case chefs) patents that allow them to restrict others from making, using, selling, or offering to sell their invention (recipe) for a limited period of time, usually 20 years in the case of utility patents. So, can you patent your favorite recipe? Read below to find out.

Can You Patent a Recipe?

The short answer is yes, you can patent a recipe in the United States by filing a utility patent application with the USPTO. However, you have to satisfy the requirements set forth by the patent office to be able to patent your awesome recipe.

If you have an awesome and innovative recipe on your hands, you can patent it with the USPTO, so what do you need to show to patent your recipe? To patent your recipe, you will have to show that your recipe is nonobvious, novel (new), and useful. We will discuss each of these in more detail below.

Chefs and cooks have been developing and creating awesome dishes for the longest time, so trying to prove that your recipe is novel (new) is one of the most difficult tasks you have to get your recipe patented. But, if your recipe is indeed unique, you might just be able to patent it and reap the benefits of owning the intellectual property right to your recipe.

So, where does the power to patent your recipe come from? It comes from 35 U.S. Code § 101. Inventions patentable.

Food recipes can qualify under this definition because they are useful and involve a composition of matter. There are three components to a recipe: ingredients that go into it, instructions on how to combine and/or cook the ingredients, as well as the final product resulting from a combination of ingredients. That said, we will all of the requirements you'll have to satisfy to patent your recipe.

Requirements Summary to Patent Your Recipe

  1. Your invention (recipe) must contain patentable subject matter,
  2. Your Recipe must be novel (new)
  3. Your Recipe Must Be Nonobvious
  4. Your Recipe Must be Useful

#1 Your Recipe Must Contain Patentable Subject Matter

The patentable subject matter in a recipe contains ingredients and a certain method is used to prepare the ingredients, creating and how they're cooked or prepared falls under a process, therefore, most recipes will qualify as patentable subject matter. In short, recipes probably wouldn't be knocked down for not containing patentable subject matter. That said, recipes still need to satisfy the other requirements you'll find below.

#2 Your Recipe Must be Novel

The novelty requirements simply means that your recipe is new. Under 35 U.S.C 102, a recipe must be novel, meaning to be patentable the invention (recipe) must have never existed before. When applying this requirement to recipes, it becomes more complicated. You might be thinking do the ingredients have to be new or does the combination of ingredients need to be new?

The short answer is that the combination of ingredients and the amount of ingredients has to be new. For example, adding more sugar to a cheesecake may make a cheesecake sweeter and adding peanut butter to a cheesecake may create a new type of cheesecake that no one has ever tasted before.

For you to be able to patent your recipe, you must ensure that no one else has already patented your recipe. To find out if someone has patented your recipe, you need to conduct a search of the USPTO Patent Database. In addition to the USPTO patent database search, you should search the internet to see if someone else has published the recipe you're seeking to patent.

In the event that someone else has patented or published the recipe exactly as you created it, you may not be eligible to patent it, especially if someone else has already patented it before you did. Also, if someone else has published the recipe by, for example, posting it online, the patent office will deem the recipe published (disclosed) and no longer eligible for patent protection.

That said, if your recipe is in any way different from what's been published or different from the recipes that have been patented, this is good news for you because you might be able to patent it, assuming that you satisfy the remaining requirements.

As part of the novelty inquiry, an inventor seeking to protect his recipe must not have publicly disclosed, sold, or offered the recipe to be protected for sale more than one year prior to filing a patent application with the USPTO. If you've disclosed your recipe more than a year ago, the patent office may prohibit you from patenting it.

#3 Your Recipe Must Be Nonobvious

To patent your recipe, you will have to show the patent office that your recipe was not obvious at the time you file your patent application. Said differently, if your recipe is obvious, such as if you were adding more strawberries to strawberry cheesecake, the patent examiner will say that it could have been thought of by anyone and therefore he will not grant your patent application.

When making the determination of whether a recipe is nonobvious, the recipe is examined by using a standard of an ordinary person in the field of the invention. For recipes, this is a skilled cook having ordinary skills in the field of the recipe. Adding one ingredient, such as cinnamon to cheesecake is usually never enough to make a recipe nonobvious because a cook preparing our hypothetical cheesecake could have easily thought of it.

The same goes for adding more sugar to cake to make it sweeter. It's unlikely that the patent examiner would grant a patent based on this because it's obvious to a skilled cook that adding more sugar makes a cake sweeter.

Your recipe has to have something unexpected added to it. The more different ingredients you add, the more likely you'll be able to patent your recipe because it makes it less obvious to a skilled cook.

#4 Your Recipe Must Be Useful

Although most inventions are not challenged on the grounds they are not useful, we had to let you know that it is a requirement. Useful simply means that your recipe must provide some identifiable benefit and is capable of being used. So as long as you have a recipe that works, you've met this requirement.

We do have to point out that the description of your patent should explain how your recipe can be used. The chances of the patent office rejecting your recipe patent on the grounds that it is not useful is extremely rare, but you should describe how it's useful to satisfy this requirement.

What Type of Patent Do You Need To Patent a Recipe?

If you want to protect your recipe, the type of patent you need is a utility patent. Utility patents protect new and useful inventions, recipes would fall under the definition of a utility patent. Utility patents protect new inventions, processes, and manufactured items. A food item would qualify as a manufactured item.

That said, if your food product is placed inside unique packaging, you can apply for a separate design patent to protect the product packaging. Design patents are significantly easier to obtain than utility patents. So, if you're packaging is something that your customer finds important when purchasing your food item, consider patenting it using a design patent.

Hire a Patent Attorney to Patent Your Recipe

If you have a recipe that's new, qualifies for a patent, and you know you can commercialize, you should hire a patent attorney to protect your recipe with a patent. Preparing and filing a patent application is not an easy task, especially if you don't have experience preparing patent applications.

That said, it's unheard of to hear about an inventor who has prepared, filed, and patented his own invention, it's not an easy task. Making even seemingly minor mistakes could get your patent application rejected, requiring you to spend time and money fixing the mistake.

The USPTO even allows inventors to prepare and file their patent application on their own, they will even assist you with it. However, they do recommend that you hire a patent attorney or patent agent to assist you in preparing, filing, and communicating with the patent office.

If you don't have the money to hire a patent attorney, you can hire a patent agent. Patent agents are qualified and licensed to prepare, file, and communicate on your behalf with the patent office. For more information on patent agents, click here. They could save you a ton of money while getting your recipe the same type of patent protection an attorney would.

How Much Does it Cost to Patent a Recipe?

Patenting a recipe costs between $5,000 to $8,000, depending on the complexity of the recipe or process involved. The cost is mostly related to attorney fees because you'll probably need one to prepare and file your patent application with the patent office. You might need to pay more if your attorney needs to communicate with the patent office and make amendments to your patent application.

You can knock the cost down by hiring a qualified patent agent to prepare and file your patent application. As previously mentioned, patent agents are qualified and licensed to assist clients in preparing, filing, and communicating with the patent office on your behalf.

Here is a sample of costs you should expect to pay to patent your recipe:

  • Utility patent application filing fee: $75
  • Utility patent search fee: $165
  • Utility patent examination fee: $190
  • Attorneys Fee: $5,000
  • Total Cost: $5,430

Protection You Get When You Patent a Recipe

If you're successful in patenting your recipe, you will be able to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, and importing your recipe or food item to the United States for a limited period of time of 20 years. The 20-year patent term beings at the time you file your utility patent application with the USPTO.

During the 20 year patent term you may be able to become the only person using, making, and selling the patented recipe or food product while limiting the competition that you have. If you wish, you will be able to license your recipe to third parties to use or if you want you can sell it altogether. You have the right to do whatever you want with your intellectual property.

It's important to note that if someone copies, steals, or uses your recipe, it's not the USPTO's job to take action against the infringer. Instead, you will need to actively look for parties that are making unauthorized use of your recipe and sue them for patent infringement.

Pros and Cons For Patenting Your Recipe

Here are some of the advantages (pros) and disadvantages (cons) of patenting your recipe:

Advantages (Pros)

  • Protect your intellectual property
  • Makes your recipe more valuable
  • Ability to restrict competitors from using or selling your recipe
  • Ability to recoupe expenses to make the recipe
  • Ability to profit from your recipe

Disadvantages (Cons)

  • Costs associated with patenting your recipe
  • Time patenting requires
  • Maintenance fees
  • Complicated process to patent your recipe

Can You Get a Patent on a Recipe?

As we've mentioned previously, you can patent a recipe, but you will have to satisfy the requirements set forth by the patent office. We discussed the requirements, as well as the costs associated with patenting your recipe. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


Can you patent clothing or clothes

Can You Patent Clothing?

If you've just finished working on a new line of clothing, you're probably wondering whether you can protect it with a patent? The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) issues design patents that protect the aesthetics or ornamental appearance of an object and utility patents that protect the functional aspects of an article of clothing. So, can a patent protect your clothing? Read below to find out.

Can You Patent Clothing?

The short answer is yes, you can patent clothing using a design patent or utility patent. That said, you should know the difference between what type of clothing design patents protect and design patents protect.

Patenting your clothing will allow you to restrict others from using, making, selling, and importing the patented clothing to the United States without your express permission.

You'll have the exclusive right to make and sell your clothing line, you will also be able to license the design or the invention of your clothing to third parties in exchange for a licensing fee. Also, if you wish, you can sell the patented design to another party.

If the piece of clothing or apparel that you want to protect has a new, functional aspect, you can file a utility patent application. Utility patents protect functional items, including clothing that has a new and unique function.

For example, Katerina Plew sued Victoria's Secret for infringing upon her patent of the "Very Sexy 100-Way Strapless Bra." The Bra that she had patented was functional in that it was adjustable in 100 different ways. If you have an item of clothing that has a unique function as does the bra in this case, you might be able to protect it using a utility patent.

That said, even if you do not have a function piece of clothing, you're not out of luck just yet. The USPTO offers design patents, which can be granted to protect the unique design or appearance of a new and unique item of clothing. Design patents, unlike utility patents, do not protect the function of an item but rather its design or appearance. We will now discuss how a design patent can be used to protect an article of clothing.

Protecting Clothing with a Design Patent

If your clothing does not qualify for a utility patent you might still be able to protect the design using a design patent. Many designers (inventors in this case) have protected their clothing by using a design patent. For example, if you have an item of clothing that has a new cut, pattern, design, or embroidery, you may be able to protect them using a design patent.

That said, if you want to protect your clothing using a design patent, you will have to meet the following requirements:

  • The item of clothing must be new and unique,
  • It must not affect the function of the article of clothing,
  • It must be inseparable from the article to which it is attached, and
  • The same or similar design must have not been previously patented

If you are able to satisfy the following requirements, you can hire an attorney to prepare and file a design patent application on your behalf. Just make sure that you file the application within one year of publicly disclosing the item of clothing, selling it, or offering it for sale. This is so because the USPTO requires that you file your design patent application within the 1 year grace period after publicly disclosing your design.

Protecting One Clothing Design Per Patent

Please remember that you can only protect (claim) one design per design patent application, therefore if you have multiple articles of clothing that you want to protect, you will have to file a separate design patent application for each article of clothing.

That said, the USPTO does allow inventors (designers) to protect multiple embodiments (variations) of the same design, it's not recommended that you apply to protect different embodiments in your design patent application.

This is so because if the patent examiner determines that the different embodiments (variations) of the same design are distinct, you could face a scenario where the patent examiner forces you to only choose one design to be patented. This will cost you time and money because your attorney will have to do a lot of legal work to overcome this situation.

Filing a design patent claiming one design without different variations is the best way to guarantee the approval of your design patent application. Design patents are typically quick to get, especially if your attorney does a good job preparing your design patent application.

Once you're successful in patenting your design, your patent will last for 15 years from the date the patent office grants your design patent application. During the 15-year patent term you will be able to stop others from using, making, selling, offering to sell, and importing an article of clothing that has a design that's the same as or similar to the one that you've patented. Said differently, you will be able to stop others from copying your design and passing it off as their own.

Problems with Protecting Clothing with a Patent

Now that we have covered how you can protect an article of clothing using either a utility patent or design patent, it's important to understand the shortcomings associated with patent law protecting clothing.

The Time it Takes to Patent Clothing

It often takes the USPTO 20 months to approve or deny a design patent application and this is simply too slow in the fashion industry where trends tend to move fairly quickly. Often times, the design that's sought to be patented is already out of fashion by the time the patent office issues the design patent. The USPTO does offer an expedited means of obtaining a design patent, but even then it takes 10 to 12 months to get a design patent approved.

Cost Associated with Clothing Patent

Although many makers of unique clothing designs will benefit from patenting their new designs, it is often cost-prohibitive for some people. If you want to patent an article of clothing with a unique design, expect to pay the following fees:

  • $50 to $200 Filing fee
  • $40 to $160 Design search fee
  • $150 to $600 Design patent examination fee
  • $1,500 to $3,500 Attorney fees

If you're an individual designer, you should expect to pay between $1,740 to $3,980 for an attorney to prepare and file your design patent application for an article of clothing with a unique design. The cost significantly depends on the attorneys' fees that you will pay for them to prepare and file your application.

When do Patents on Clothing Make Sense?

Clothing patents make sense for designs that will last for long periods of time and for companies and individuals who have the financial backing to afford the preparation and filing of a design patent. For example, patenting a clothing design is appropriate for a brand such as Louis Vuitton. They have the time and money to spend on obtaining a design patent and their products sell for very high prices, this warrants spending and protecting the designs.

That said, if you believe that you have a unique design that warrants obtaining a design or utility patent, go for it. Just know that it could take a long time and you will have to spend copious amounts of money obtaining the patent.

Can Clothes Be Protected by Means Other Than a Patent?

According to Lexis Nexis, the Designs on clothing can be protected by U.S Copyright Law, however, there are some limitations to the protection that copyright law offers. For example, copyright protection does not extend to colors, so if the design you're seeking to protect has a unique color the color would not be protected.

If you have sketches of the design that you want to protect, copyright law would protect the sketches and no one would be allowed to use, copy, or publicly display any of your sketches of an article of clothing.

If you want to protect the cut of an article of clothing, the Supreme Court does not allow such protection because copyright law cannot prohibit others from manufacturing an article of clothing with a cut that's similar to the one you've invented.

That said, copyright law does offer protection for the designs on the surface of clothing just as it protects designs or art that are made on a sheet of paper. So, if you're asking whether copyright law protects designs? It does if they are on the surface of an article of clothing. So, if you have a combination or arrangement of shapes, colors, and lines that appear on the surface of a piece of clothing, copyright law will protect these designs.

How Do You Patent a Clothing Design?

If you want to patent a clothing design, you'll have to make sure that you have a design that's new and unique and that the article of clothing holding the design qualifies for a patent. You should then contact an attorney who can determine whether your design qualifies for a patent. If he gives you the good news that it does, you can then have them prepare and file a design patent application or utility patent application on your behalf.

Just remember that patents can cost quite a lot of money and require time, so if you have both and you're confident that you can commercialize the clothing brand, go ahead and get the process started.

Patenting Clothing

This article discussed the various options that a designer or inventor has to obtain patent protection on clothing. We also examined the difference in protecting clothing with a patent vs copyright. We discussed the requirements that must be followed for an inventor or designer to protect an article of clothing in the United States. We also discussed when obtaining a patent on clothing makes sense and the costs associated with patenting clothing. If you have any general questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


why are inventions or important to inventors?

Why Are Patents Important to Inventors?

Why Are Patents Important to Inventors?

Patents are intellectual property rights granted to inventors who invent new inventions, machines, processes, or designs. Patents allow inventors to exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing the patented invention within the United States for a limited period of time.

Patents are important because they help inventors protect their inventions, products, or designs from being copied and stolen by others for a limited period of time, usually for fifteen or twenty years, depending on the type of patent.

That said, patents only protect an inventor's invention in the country issuing the patent. For example, if an inventor patents his invention in the United States, the inventor will only be able to restrict others from making, using, selling, and offering the invention for sale within the United States. If an inventor wants protection in a different country, such as Canada, the inventor will have to protect his invention in Canada, under Canadian law.

More Reasons Patents Are Important to Inventors

We will now dive into some additional reasons as to why patents are valuable to inventors.

Protection From Theft

One of the main reasons that inventors patent their inventions or designs is to protect their idea from theft. Inventors often spend a lot of time and money working on their invention, only to have a third party steal and copy the hard work the inventor has performed.

Patents protect inventors' inventions by allowing them to sue and take legal action against any party that makes, sells, or imports to the united states the inventor's invention without the inventor's express permission.

Doing Business

Inventors protect their inventions because if they don't, their competitors may patent the product before them and then prohibit them from selling the product. So, inventors choose to protect their products with patents to continue selling the patented product without having to worry about third parties prohibiting them from doing so.

If a third party were to patent a product before the inventor patents it, not only will others compete with the inventor, the inventor could lose his right to compete at all. If this happens, the inventor loses any time and money he invested in creating his invention. This is not an outcome that inventors want, so they patent their product, allowing them to continue to compete with others.

Weed Out the Competition

When inventors patent their ideas and inventions, they begin to build a patent portfolio. This patent portfolio allows them to protect the products they're offering, limiting the ability of competitors to sell similar products. By limiting the ability of competitors to sell products that are similar to the inventor's products, the inventor faces less competition in his niche, allowing him to become the sole seller of the product and attain a higher return on his investment.

Encourages them to Innovate

Patents encourage inventors to invent because it allows them to enjoy a monopoly over their invention for a limited period of time. For utility patents, inventors will be able to restrict others from making or selling their invention for 20 years from the filing date of their utility patent application. For design patents, it's 15 years from the grant date of their patent application.

During the patent term, many inventors will be able to make and sell their products without having to worry about competition. This allows them to recoup their investment and make profits from making and selling the patented product or design.

Licensing Their Invention to Others

Patents are important to inventors because they allow inventors to license their invention to others in exchange for an agreed-upon fee or royalty. For inventors, licensing fees can be a great source of revenue, especially in circumstances where the inventor does not have the money or resources to produce, market and sell the invention. In the United States, there are companies that exist solely to patent technology and inventions, and to license their tech to other companies to use. Without patents to protect an inventor's intellectual property, it would be substantially much more difficult to license patented inventions.

When an inventor licenses his patented product, he can choose the geographic scope of the patent, the time for which the license will last, and the amount of royalty that he will receive. For example, an inventor can choose to license his patented product for use only in California. The licensee would then only be allowed to use the patented product only in California.

Selling Their Invention

The same way that inventors patent their inventions to license them, they can protect their invention with a patent and then sell the patented invention or technology to a third party. Selling a patent is great for inventors who like making new things but don't want to sit on their invention and guard it for the next 20 years. Depending on how valuable the patent is, an inventor could sell his invention for a considerable amount of profit.

Added Value

Patents are beneficial for inventors because they add value to the inventor and help brand a company as an innovator in the field of the patented invention. Also, the more patents an inventor has, the more people perceive the inventor as a valuable business partner. The more patents a company has, the more valuable it becomes in the eyes of investors and potential purchasers. Having patented products gives investors and partners a feeling of security since you're protecting their intellectual property.

Higher Profit Margins

Patent law in the United States gives inventors the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, and offering for sale their invention. Assuming there is market demand for the patented product, inventors can charge higher prices for the patented product since there will be less of a supply of the product.

Increase in Negotiating Power

If an inventor knows that he may be selling his business or technology, having a patent over the products and technology used in his business will help increase his negotiating power. This couldn't be truer if the patents are of considerable value to the party seeking to purchase the business or its technology.

How Long Does it Take an Inventor to Patent his Invention?

According to the USPTO, inventor seeking to protect their invention, process, or machine should expect to wait 24.2 months for the patent office to either grant or reject their utility patent application. If an inventor is seeking to protect a design, an inventor should expect to wait 20.4 months for the patent office to either grant or reject his design patent application.

How Much Does it Cost For an Inventor to Patent his Invention?

Costs associated with patenting an invention vary depending on whether the inventor was to prepare and file his patent application on his own or wants the assistance of an attorney.

The USPTO charges micro-entities $430 in application filing fees, patent search fees, and patent examination fees. If an inventor requires the assistance of an attorney, attorneys typically charge $5,000 to $15,000 to prepare and file a utility patent application. Of course, the cost depends on the complexity of the invention.

If you an inventor has a simple, straightforward invention that he wants to patent, he should expect to pay $8,000 to obtain a utility patent. If the USPTO rejects or requires modification of the utility patent application, this typically costs the inventor more money as the attorney will have to perform more work.

Limitations on Patents

It's important to note that inventors often face limitations on what they can patent with the USPTO. For example, inventors have one year to file a patent application after publicly disclosing, selling, or offering to sell the patented invention. After a year has passed, inventors are prohibited from filing a patent for their invention even if the inventor never actually sold the invention.

That said, although the U.S offers a one year grace period to inventors to file their application after disclosure, other countries are not so courteous. Some countries do not allow inventors to protect inventions that have been publicly disclosed or offered for sale to the public. So, if an inventor has an invention they want to protect in the U.S and abroad, they should consider keeping the invention confidential until they have obtained the required protection.

Importance of Patents to Inventors

This article covered the various reasons why patents are important to inventors. As we mentioned previously, patents offer inventors intellectual property rights on their inventions for limited periods of time. These rights are valuable and protect inventors from parties that want to steal or copy their inventions. Patents are valuable because inventors can license and sell their patented product to other parties. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Just remember that intellectual property rights, such as patents are becoming more and more important in today's day an age, making it more important than ever for inventors to protect their inventions, machines, and process with patents.


How many designs can you patent

How Many Designs Can You Patent?

If you're a designer who has invented several new designs, you might be wondering how many designs you can patent per design patent application. This is a common question that we get all the time.

The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) offers three types of patent protection, utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Design patents allow inventors to protect the ornamental aspects or appearance of an article of manufacture. This makes design patents different from utility patents that protect the composition of an invention and how an invention works.

Inventors patent their designs to protect their intellectual property. Design patents allow inventors of designs to restrict others from using, making, selling, and importing their invention within the United States for a limited period of time. For design patents, this period of time is 15 years from the date a design patent is granted. So, can a single design patent application include multiple designs? We will answer this question in the section below.

How Many Designs Can You Patent?

A design patent application can only patent (claim) one design, if you have more than one design, you will have to file a separate design patent application for each unique design.

That said, multiple embodiments (forms or versions) of the same unique design are permissible to be filed as a single patent application, however, design patent applications with multiple embodiments may be rejected by the patent office for attempting to protect more than one design.

It's best to have one unique design per design patent application, but if you want to protect more than one embodiment in a single design patent application, make sure that the embodiment shares some common design features.

Having said that, if the patent examiner determines that more than one design (invention) is present within the design patent application, he may restrict the application to a single design.

The benefit of having a design patent application with multiple embodiments of the same invention (design) is that the applicant will only need to file one application and pay only one filing fee.

Just remember that if the patent examiner does not permit all of the embodiments to go forward, the applicant should choose the broadest claimed embodiment to issue by canceling all of the other embodiments. If the other embodiments are important enough, the applicant can protect them by filing separate design patent applications for each embodiment.

What are the Benefits of Protecting Multiple Embodiments in a Single Patent Application?

The only benefit for grouping multiple design embodiments into a single design patent application is to save money on USPTO patent applications fees and attorneys' fees. For someone who is claiming multiple embodiments, the fees saved are not trivial, so it makes sense that some applicants would try to protect multiple embodiments, using one design patent application.

That said, the benefits of grouping multiple embodiments into one application are limited to saving money. Design patents, unlike utility patents, do not require than a patent holder pay maintenance fees, so an applicant would not save money on maintenance fees.

Risk of Including Multiple Design Embodiments in One Patent Application

The risk an applicant runs when including several embodiments of a design using a single design patent application is that the patent examiner will find several distinct designs (inventions). This violates the rule that applicants can only patent one design per design patent application.

If a patent examiner makes the determination that the application is seeking to protect multiple designs (inventions), the examiner may issue a restriction requirement, requiring the applicant to choose a certain design claim to prosecute in the design patent application.

At this point, the applicant may choose the broadest design claim to go forward, while canceling the rest of the claimed designs. If the other designs are important to the applicant, the applicant can still protect them by filing separate design patent applications for each of the designs.

Filing a Design Patent Application with Multiple Embodiments Could Cost More in the Long Run

Filing a design patent application with multiple embodiments could cost more in the long run because the applicant may incur lawyer fees to have the lawyer file a response picking a particular design to go forward.

Also, the applicant may incur USPTO fees and lawyer fees to have his attorney file a divisional application to protect the designs that the applicant had to cancel from the original design patent application.

So, if an applicant includes multiple variations for the same design to obtain a broader patent, he should be prepared to file a divisional application to protect the excluded embodiments that were filed in the original design patent application.

Example of Multiple Embodiments in a Design Patent Application

Here is an example of a design patent application claiming multiple embodiments of the same design:

Utility Patent Multiple Claims vs Design Patent Single Claim

It comes as no surprise that utility patents are significantly different than design patents. Because of these differences, applicants of utility patents seek to disclose any and all embodiments of an invention as possible within the same utility patent application, the same is not true for design patents.

When filing a design patent application, the applicant can only claim one distinct design per patent application. If an applicant includes several design claims, it's highly likely that the patent examiner will cancel all additional claims in the design patent application.

Forfeiting Parts of Your Design If you File Multiple Designs

If an applicant for a design patent includes multiple design embodiments in a single design patent application, the patent examiner may conclude that embodiments are too distinct from each other. If this occurs, the patent examiner may issue an office action requesting that the applicant choose one design to pursue in his design patent application.

That said, if the different embodiments of the same design are similar, the patent examiner may conclude that the embodiments constitute a single design (invention) with the embodiments being variations of the same, distinct design. At this point, the design and all of its embodiments will issue as a single design patent.

Delays in Obtaining a Design Patent

According to the USPTO, design patents have a significantly high allowance rate of approximately 84%, therefore if an applicant files a design patent application that claims one unique design, there is a high chance that the application would proceed from filing to allowance without an applicant every receiving an office action.

When an applicant for a design patent includes multiple embodiments of the same design, he is increasing the probability of receiving an office action thereby delaying the process of obtaining a design patent for the main design, as well as different variations of the same design.

Therefore, if time is of the essence, an applicant may benefit and speed up the process of obtaining a patent by only seeking to protect a single embodiment of a design using a single design patent application.

Abandonment of Additional Designs

If an applicant chooses to include multiple embodiments of the same design using a single design patent application, the applicant runs the risk of abandoning additional embodiments which will become part of the public domain.

This scenario occurs when a patent examiner comes to the conclusion that the embodiments of a design constitute distinct designs that require separate protection. If this happens, the applicant will have to make one of two choices. He must either file a divisional application to protect the distinct designs or the non-elected designs will become part of the public domain.

So, what should you take away from this? If you want to file multiple design embodiments, be prepared to file a divisional application if the patent examiner issues a restriction requirement or risk your embodiments becoming part of the public domain.

Filing a Divisional Application

In the event that an applicant wants to protect non-elected designs (claims), the applicant will have to file a divisional application while the patent is still pending at the USPTO. The divisional application maintains the priority date of the original design patent application. The benefit of maintaining an earlier priority date is that if a third party files an application to protect the same or similar design after your priority date, you will have priority over them.

How Many Design Patent Applications Can the Same Person File?

An applicant can file as many design patent applications as he or she wants. The USPTO does not limit the number of design patent applications that the same individual can file.

Strategy For Protecting Many Designs

If you're an applicant who has different variations of the same design, you have to determine whether the designs are significantly different as to warrant filing multiple design patent applications.

If your designs are significantly different, it may save you time, money, and heartache to protect each distinct embodiment of your design using separate design patent applications. Doing so will save you from having to deal with a restriction requirement.


are drawings required for design patents in the us

Are Drawings Required for Design Patents?

Design patents are granted by the USPTO to protect new, unique designs that are applied to physical objects. The patent office allows inventors to protect the ornamental appearance as applied to an article or the configuration or shape of an article or the combination of the two. So, does an applicant for a design patent have to submit drawings of the design with his design patent application? We will answer this below.

Are Drawings Required For Design Patents?

Absolutely! Yes, drawings are required for design patents. In fact, the drawings that have to be submitted along with a design patent application are the most important element of the entire application. According to the USPTO, "every design patent application must include either a drawing or a black and white photograph of the claimed design."

The patent office places so much emphasis on the inclusion of drawings in the design patent application because the drawings make up the entire visual disclosure of the claimed design, therefore having clear and concise drawings of the design to be patented is of utmost importance.

The first paragraph of 35 U.S.C 122 states that the drawings or photographs that have to be submitted with your design patent application must include drawings of the different views of your design. This is so that an applicant discloses the appearance of the design he's claiming in his design patent application. So, what drawings should you include with your design patent application? We will answer this below.

What Drawings Should You Include For Your Design Patent?

The USPTO requires that the drawings are made in black inc on white paper. If an applicant wishes, he can include black and white photographs instead of the drawings we just described.

The drawings you submit must be on double white photographic paper and you must remember to include the drawings figure numbers on the face of each drawing or photograph. If you're including photographs instead of black and white drawings, make sure that you do not include the environment (background) of the photograph, only show the design and the object to which it is applied.

So, does the patent office accept color photographs or drawings? The USPTO states that it does accept color photographs or drawings in design patent applications only if the USPTO granted a petition under 37 CFR §1.84(a)(2), in which an applicant for a design patent explains why colored drawings or colored photographs are necessary for the design.

When Should You Prepare the Design Patent Drawings?

The drawings for a design patent should be prepared once you have settled on a design that you want to use. Once you have the design you want to protect, you should prepare drawings for your design patent application.

Many applicants make the mistake of preparing design patent drawings early in the process while they're developing the design. They should not do that, they should only prepare the design patent drawings once they have finalized the design. Any changes to the design should be reflected in the patent drawings, to ensure that the exact design is protected.

If the drawings are different from the design you want to protect, you will only be protecting the design that's in the drawings and not the design you actually have. As a general rule of thumb, the design should be prepared as close to the launch of the design to be patented as possible.

What Drawing Views Should You Include for a Design Patent?

According to the USPTO, the drawings or photographs that you include should include different views of the design you want to patent, this includes the following views:

  • Front view
  • Top view
  • Bottom view
  • Rear view
  • Right side view
  • Left side view
  • Perspective view

That said, while the perspective view is not required, the patent office encourages its inclusion to show the appearance and shape of three-dimensional designs.

The patent office does not require you to include views that are duplicates of other views to be omitted from the application. For example, if the right and left sides of your design are identical, you can include a drawing or photo of only one of the sides.

Surface Shading for Design Patent Drawings

The drawings you include with your design patent application should include proper shading that accentuates the contours of all of the surfaces and to distinguish open and solid areas of the design. Here is an example of the surface shading for design patent drawings.

Solid shading is not permitted by the patent office unless it's used to represent the color black. If the drawings an applicant includes do not completely show the shape of the design, the patent office may consider it as new matter. New matter is typically not protected as part of the patented design.

Broken Lines for Design Patent Drawings

Patent applicants should be used by an applicant to demonstrate that the portion indicated by the broken lines is not part of the design that's to be patented. Said differently, broken lines should be used to indicate the part of the design that is not claimed as part of the design to be patented.

Here is an example of the broken lines used in a design patent application:

The broken lines are here are used to show that the portion to be protected is the lid portion of the thermostat that is drawn using solid black lines. The portion referred to by the arrows is not claimed as part of the design to be patented.

Focus on the Important Portions of Your Design

When making drawings for your design patent application, you should focus on the unique and important portions of your design. If the entire design is important, then you or your artist should focus on the entire design, making sure to include all of the details that you want to protect with your design patent.

For example, look at the thermos we've included above. If the unique portion is the top portion of the thermos, focus on that portion as the applicant did in the thermos design patent shown above. If you draw out and focus on the lower portion of the thermos, you will limit your design patent to the thermos. By including the broken lines, the applicant told the patent office that the lid is the main focus of the patent, allowing the applicant to use the lid on various different thermoses.

For a competitor to infringe upon the thermos patent, all he would have to do is copy and sell the lid portion of the thermos. One he copies the design of the lid, you'll be able to sue him for patent infringement.

Strict Rules for USPTO Design Patent Drawings

Just remember that the rules for USPTO drawings are strict and will determine the scope of your design patent. If you don't have experience making drawings for design patents, it's best that you hire a professional artist who specializes in USPTO drawings. Artists typically charge between $50 to $100 per drawing.

Hire a Patent Attorney to Assist with Your Design Patent Application

The USPTO provides some great resources for design patent applicants on their website. However, those seeking a design patent will benefit greatly from hiring an attorney to assist them with the preparation and filing of their patent application. Design patent law may appear easy and simple, but making even seemingly minor mistakes can get your design patent rejected, costing you more money and time in the long run.

Why Are Design Patent Drawings Important?

Design patent drawings are important because they identify the design that an applicant wants to protect. Drawings and photos speak louder than any words could in the realm of design patents. Without attaching clear and concise drawings and photos to your design patent application, the patent office and the public will not know what you're trying to protect.

As previously mentioned, you should include the views of your design that the patent office requires. If you choose not to include a certain view, explain to the patent office why you didn't include it.

Just remember, that once you've submitted your design patent application, you cannot make any changes to the drawings. Anything that's added will be considered a new matter that's not protected unless you file another design patent application claiming that new matter.

Design Patent Drawings

As we have illustrated in this article, design drawings are not only necessary for a design patent application, but are the most important of the entire application. The drawings you submit will define the scope of your design patent, so paying close attention to detail is a requirement. So, make sure that the drawings you submit accurately portray the design you're seeking to protect with a patent.


How long do plant patents last?

How Long Does a Plant Patent Last?

What is a Plant Patent?

Plant patents are granted by the USPTO to an inventor who invents or discovers a new, asexually reproduced plant. So, what does asexually reproduced mean? Asexually reproduced means that the plants to be patented are not reproduced through regular, sexual reproduction. Plants can be asexually reproduced through methods, such as budding and propagation.

No many countries allow the patenting of newly invented or discovered plants, but the U.S does grant inventors of new, asexually produced plants, patents. So, how long does a plant patent last?

How Long Do Plant Patents Last?

According to the USPTO, plant patent lasts for 20 years from the filing date (also known as the priority date) of a plant patent application. If an inventor is successful in obtaining a plant patent, he will be able to stop others from reproducing the plant, selling it, and offering it for sale through the United States. An inventor will also be able to stop others from importing the plant or any parts of the patented plant into the United States.

So, to know how long a plant patent lasts, you have to know the filing date of the plant patent application. Once you have the filing date of the plant patent application, add 20 years to that date and you'll get the patent term for that patent.

For example, if a plant patent application was filed on January 1, 2000, you should add 20 years to that date to find the patent term for the patented plant. Adding 20 years, you'll know that the patent is good until January 1, 2020.

Many people make the mistake of believing that a plant patent is good for 20 years from the date the plant patent is granted. Like we previously said, the clock on the patent term begins ticking at the time the plant patent application is filed and not when it is granted.

Requirements to Get a Plant Patent

According to the USPTO, to get a plant patent, an inventor must demonstrate the following:

  • The plant was invented or discovered in a cultivates state and was asexually reproduced,
  • The inventor who is named in the patent application is the person who actually invented or discovered the claimed plant and asexually reproduced it,
  • The plant has not been previously patented, publicly used, put on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the inventor filed his plant patent application,
  • The plant to be patented is different in at least one characteristic from known plants,
  • The plant to be patented would not have been obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the field of the plant at the time of filing the plant patent application.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Plant Patent?

According to USPTO Patent Data, it takes approximately 24.2 months for the patent office to grant or reject a plant patent application. Applicants for a plant patent should expect their first office action within 16.2 months of filing their plant patent application.

That said, some sources claim that plant patent application move quicker through the patent system because there are significantly fewer plant patent applications filed with the patent office than utility patent application.

To avoid any delays, make sure that your plant patent application is correctly prepared and clearly describes the plant you want to patent. This gives you the best chance of getting a plant patent as quickly as possible.

History of Plant Patents in the United States

The United States began issuing a patent for plants in 1930. According to Nolo, the USPTO issued the first plant patent to Henry Bosenbery for inventing the first ever-blooming rose.

The USPTO does not allow applicants for plant patents to patent plants that are discovered in the wild because they occur naturally in nature. However, plants discovered in a cultivated area (an area that is planted with crops that are cultivated) can be patented.

That said, for an inventor to be able to successfully get a patent, the inventor must have been able to asexually reproduce the plant. So what does asexual reproduction mean? Asexual reproduction means that the applicant was able to reproduce the plant by a means other than seeds, such as cutting or grafting the plant.

Grafting involves taking a portion of one plant and attaching it to a second plant. Asexual reproduction is required by the patent office because it demonstrates that the inventor can reproduce the plant to be patented.

Deadline For Filing a Plant Patent

If you have a new and unique species of plant that you want to patent, you must file your plant patent application within one year of publicly disclosing the plant, offering it for sale, or otherwise disclosing the plant to the public. If more than one year has passed since disclosing the plant, you will not be allowed to get a plant patent.

Example of a Plant Patent

Here is an example of a plant patent that we retrieved directly from the USPTO.

Plant Patent vs Utility Patent

Plant patents offering protection to applicants who have invented new, asexually reproduced plant species, while utility patents protect new inventions, machines, and processes.

Both plant patents and utility patents offering 20 years of protection, starting from the filing date of either a plant patent application or utility patent application.

Plant patents are significantly cheaper to obtain than utility patents, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000+, depending on the complexity of the invention being patented. Plant patents cost anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000, making them much cheaper to obtain than utility patents.

That said, although utility patents are much more expensive and harder to obtain than plant patents, utility patents offer broader and stronger protection than plant patents.

If a plant is protected by a utility patent, as opposed to a plant patent, the applicant will be able to restrict others from not only asexually reproducing his plant but also restrict them from sexual reproducing his plant.

According to Nolo, the USPTO has granted utility patents to protect man-made plants or elements of them. An inventor can protect a plant whether it is asexually reproduced or sexually reproduced. For an inventor to be able to obtain a utility patent to protect a new species of plant, the inventor will have to satisfy all of the statutory requirements for utility patents, such as having a patentable subject matter, novelty, utility, and nonobviousness.

Are Inventors Required to Pay Maintenance Fees for a Plant Patent?

No, an inventor does not have to pay maintenance fees for a plant patent. Only utility patent holders are required to pay maintenance fees to the patent office for their patents. Said differently, once your plant patent is approved, you do not have to pay any patent office fees to maintain it.

Do You Need an Attorney to File a Plant Patent Application?

No, inventors are not required to have an attorney to file a plant patent application. However, the USPTO does recommend that you hire an attorney to prepare and file your plant patent application.

In the event that you don't have the skills to prepare the plant patent application and you don't have the money to hire a patent attorney, you can hire a patent agent to prepare, file, and prosecute your plant patent application. Patent agents have passed the patent bar exam and are qualified to prepare your application and communicate on your behalf with the patent office.

Plant Patent Term

As we mentioned previously, plant patents last for 20 years from the date an inventor files his patent application with the USPTO. While applicants are not required to hire an attorney to prepare and file their patent application, hiring an attorney could save you some money in the long run. To ensure that the patent office approves your plant patent application, make sure that you file your application within the 1 year grace period offered by the patent office. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


What is a patent office action letter? We explain everything you need to know about patent office action letter, both final and non-final

What is a Patent Office Action?

The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) issues many different types of official letters regarding an applicant's patent application. An office action is one of the official letters sent by the patent office, so understanding what a patent office action is very important because a response is often required, ignoring it could cost you your patent. So, what is a patent office action? Read below to find out.

What is a Patent Office Action?

According to the USPTO, a patent office action is a written notification from the patent office issued by the patent examiner to patent applicants during the patent examination process. Office actions notify the applicant of the examiner's decision on patentability and discloses the grounds for a rejection, the claims affected, and pertinent prior art. A patent examiner can use one office action to object to one or more claims an applicant makes in his patent application to the patent office.

Said differently, office actions are made when a patent examiner or other patent office official communicates with a patent applicant regarding the status of their patent application. Many office actions include a patent examiner's opinion on the patentability of the applied-for invention or design.

Just remember that receiving an office action does not necessarily mean that your patent will be denied. Depending on the type of office action, applicants typically have an opportunity to respond to an office action.

What Does An Office Action Mean?

A patent office action is a document prepared by the patent examiner, stating whether the patent examiner has allowed, objected, or rejected an applicant's patent claims. Most of the time, the first office action that a patent applicant receives contains claim rejections. Said differently, an office action is a formal response from the patent office regarding an applicant's patent application.

Once an applicant receives claim rejections, he will be able to respond to the USPTO, arguing that the patent examiner's rejection of patent claims are unfounded and that the claims should be allowed to go forward.

Patent Examination Process

The patent examination process begins when an application files a patent application with the USPTO. The first step the patent office takes is to review the patent application to make sure that it is complete and that all of the fees have been paid.

An application is deemed to be complete if it includes a written description of the invention, makes at least one claim, and includes the necessary drawings. Once this preliminary review is completed, the patent application is forwarded to the relevant division for examination. Once at the correct unit, a patent examiner is assigned to the patent application.

At this point, the patent examiner checks to make sure that the claims comply with applicable laws and that the claims have patentable subject matter. The examiner will looks at whether the written description adequately describes the claimed invention and that the claims clearly define the invention.

Once the examiner has completed this part of the review, he conducts a prior art search to determine whether the invention is novel (new) and nonobvious (not obvious). After completing this examination, the patent examiner will either allow all claims or issue an office action. The patent examiner may issue an office action that rejects one or more claims of objects to them.

Typically, a non-final rejection office action will state the specific claims and statutory grounds upon which the patent examiner is objecting or rejecting the submitted claims.

Once a patent applicant receives a non-final rejection, the applicant is usually given 3 months to respond. The applicant can extend the three months by an additional 3 months by paying additional fees for such an extension.

At this point, applicants typically respond with arguments as to why the patent examiner is wrong and why their invention is eligible for a patent. Once the patent examiner receive the applicant's response, the patent examiner will evaluate the claims to determine whether the applicant has overcome the challenges or objections.

The patent examiner will make a determination as to whether the applicant has overcome the claims or whether the arguments were insufficient to overcome the objections. The patent examiner may then allow the claims or issue a final rejection.

How Do You Respond to an Office Action?

Responses to an office action vary from one office action to another. An office action can require different types of responses from the inventor. For example, an office action may address the drawings attached to your patent application, it may object to the format of your patent application, or it may reject your patent on grounds that the subject matter of your patent is not novel (new).

The USPTO requires that an applicant's invention be completely novel, meaning no one must have ever invented or published a similar invention. When determining novelty, an inventor must have performed a thorough patent search that revealed no inventions that are the same as their invention. So, how much time do you have to respond to an office action? We will discuss this below.

How Much Time Do you Have to Respond to an Office Action?

The USPTO usually gives applicants 2 to 3 months to respond to an office action, however, the amount of time you're given depends on the type of office action you receive. In some circumstances, you may only have a month to reply, so always check the reply-by date that's written on your letter. If for some reason the letter does not give you a time-frame to reply, you can always contact the USPTO and request clarification.

Most Common Reasons for Office Actions

Here are some of the most common reasons for patent office actions:

  • Obviousness. Rejection based on obviousness is the most common reason for rejection, making up 30% of all rejections by the patent office. 35 U.S.C 103 states that a claim may be rejected if the differences between the claims and prior art would have been obvious before the filing date of the patent application. Office actions based on obviousness are the most difficult to overcome because it's a subjective consideration that varies from one person to another.
  • Non-patentable Subject Matter. Many rejections by the patent office are made on the grounds that the subject matter to be patented is not eligible for patenting. Usually, to overcome this type of rejection, the applicant will have to amend his claims by showing a specific application for his invention.
  • Publication. The second most common reason for rejection is publication of the matter to be patented more than one year before filing the patent application. Rejection for publications accounts for more than 12% of all rejections by the patent office.
  • Failing to Distinctly Claim the Invention. 12% of rejections by the patent office are based on failure of the claims to distinctly claim the invention under 35 U.S.C 112(b)
  • Submitting Multiple Distinct Inventions. The patent office regularly rejects patent applications that have multiple, distinct inventions using one patent application. The patent office asks applicants to limit their patent application to cover only one invention. Applicants can respond to this type of office action by choosing to go forward with the claims that relate to one invention.

What is a Final Office Action?

A final office action is usually issued by a patent examiner when a patent applicant's response to a prior office action fails to address or overcome the issues that the patent examiner brought up in the prior office action.

The first office action that is issued by the patent examiner is almost always non-final, giving the applicant an opportunity to reply and convince the patent examiner that his invention is indeed patentable.

If the patent examiner issues a second office action, this typically means that the patent examiner did not find the applicant's arguments convincing enough to allow the patent to proceed. A final rejection does not give the applicant an opportunity to respond.

That said, this is not the end of the road for a patent applicant. The applicant has three options going forward. The applicant can either (1) accept the patent examiner's rejection and abandon the patent application entirely, (2) applicant can appeal the examiner's decision, or (3) the applicant can make a request for continued examination. Choosing any one of these option will cost an applicant more money, so an applicant should consider whether the patent is worth spending more money and time.

What is a Non-Final Office Action?

A non-final office action letter is a letter sent by the USPTO to an applicant by the patent examiner. The letter typically states that the patent examiner believes that the applicant has not complied with the USPTO's requirements or that the applicant has not submitted a patentable invention. It may also include rejection of some or all of an applicant claims.

A non-final office action letter allows an applicant or his attorney to respond to the patent examiner in writing, explaining why the patent examiner is wrong or by correcting any issues in the applicant's patent application. Just remember that non-final rejections are pretty common and receiving one does mean that your application will be denied by the patent office.

The goal of an applicant's response is to convince the examiner to allow the applicant's claim(s). You or your attorney's goal should be to come up with skilled arguments and amendments to point out why the examiner's decision is wrong and why your claims should go on.

That said, if you reply to a non-final office action and your reply does not resolve the issues in your application or does not address the patent examiner's concerns, the patent examiner may send you a final office action letter. If you get a final office action letter this will significantly limit your options to making the amendments the patent examiner requires, filing an appeal with the Board of Patent Appeals, or making a Request for Continued Examination (RCE), which will open the application for further examination by the patent office.

What is a Request for Continued Examination (RCE)?

A Request for Continued Examination (RCE) is often submitted by an applicant, requesting that the patent examiner give the application another shot by allowing more time for further examination of the applicant's response. An applicant should seek an RCE if he's planing to make amendments to the patent application that require the patent examiner to perform additional prior art search.

That said, if you submit a response to a Final Office Action Letter together with an RCE and the patent examiner does not allow an applicant's application, the patent examiner will likely issues another Non-final Office Action, giving the applicant a final opportunity to file a response.

Patent Appeal

If you've faced rejection after rejection by the patent examiner, your only option might be to go above the patent examiner by filing an ex parte patent appeal. Ex Parte patent appeal will be heard and decided by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

Patent Office Action

We hope that this article clarified most of the questions you had regarding patent office action, final office actions, and non-final office actions. If you have received any letter from the USPTO, you will find some good information that may help guide you on what to expect next. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.