can medicine be patented?

Can Medicine Be Patented?

Can Medicine Be Patented?

Pharmaceutical manufacturers have successfully patented thousands of medications that are used by millions of people around the world. So, to answer the question: Can medicine be patented? Yes, medicine can be patented. Pharmaceutical makers rake in millions of dollars from the pharmaceuticals that they've patented with the USPTO (The United States Patent and Trademark Office).

How Do Pharmaceutical Companies Patent Medicine?

Pharmaceutical companies patent their medicines by applying for patents from the USPTO, which is the entity responsible for granting inventors patents over their inventions, in this case: pharmaceutical drugs and medicines.

To get a patent pharmaceuticals file what is known as a patent application. In this application, the inventor of the medicines describes the medicine that he wants to protect. To get a patent application approved, the applicant has to follow strict rules set forth by the patent office.

It takes close to seven years for a drug manufacturer to patent a single medication. This is so because the patent office is overwhelmed with patent applications. Right now there are over 500,000 pending patent applications waiting to be examined.

Manufacturers of drugs and medicine spend a ton of money to patent their medications. Patents for pharmaceuticals can easily exceed $15,000 and as the medicine is more complex, the price to patent it goes up. Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars to conduct FDA testing of their pharmaceuticals before the patent office will grant them a patent for a single medication.

To get a patent on a medicine, the pharmaceutical company has to show that it has a new and unique formula that is nonobvious and has a useful purpose. Typically, medicine makers don't have a problem proving these elements.

The new and unique requirement requires medicine makers to show that their medication is new, said differently, it has to be different from anything that has been publicly disclosed or offered for sale. The nonobviousness requirement requires medication to be unique, in that no one familiar with the field of medication would have found the formula of the medicine to be obvious. The last requirement is the usefulness requirement, which is easy to satisfy. This requirement is often satisfied by claiming that the medication was made to treat a certain disease or diseases.

How Long Does a Patent For Medicine Last?

Most Medicine makers protect their medication by obtaining a utility patent on them. Utility patents last for 20 years from the date an inventor files his utility patent application. That said, the patent office often takes very long to issue a patent protecting a medicine, in some cases, it takes the patent office 7+ years to grant a company a patent on their medication.

That said, pharmaceutical companies file what is called a patent term extension to make up for the time they lost while obtaining regulatory approval for the medication they want to introduce to the market. A patent term extension can extend the patent term by up to 5 years to make up the time a medicine maker loses for having to obtain regulatory approval from the FDA before being granted a patent on their medication.

Why Do Pharmaceutical Companies Patent Their Medication?

Pharmaceutical companies patent their medications because patents offer them monopolies for a limited period of time. During the patent term (the 20 years a utility patent is valid), the medicine maker can prevent other companies from using, making, and selling the medication for which they obtained a patent.

By preventing others from making medicines that compete with their medication, a pharmaceutical company can make a ton of money because it controls the market for that medicine. This is especially true in cases where the pharmaceutical company is the only manufacturer that makes medicine to treat a specific illness.

Some argue that medicine manufacturers make a lot of money by charging large amounts for their patented medicines. Others respond to this argument by stating that pharmaceutical companies should be allowed to patent their medicine and profit it from it because they spent the time, money, and resources to come up with the medication.

Patents allow them to recoup the cost involved with researching and coming up with the medication, as well as profit from the hard work it took them to develop and perfect the medicine. Also, if pharmaceutical companies were not incentivized by patents, they wouldn't spend the large amounts of money and time that they do to develop and manufacture a certain medication.

If patents didn't exist, companies wouldn't invent new medications because they will be reverse-engineered and copied very quickly because there won't be anything to protect the medicine from being copied and sold by others.

Generic Drugs and Medicine Patents

Once a patent on a brand name medicine expires, generic companies step in and make generic medications that are similar to the brand name medicine and start selling the generic versions at substantially lower prices than their brand name counterparts.

That said, it takes a while for other companies to develop the generic versions of the medication. The fact that a patent on a brand name medication expired does not mean that the maker will have to stop the sale of its once patented medication.

Companies of brand name medications can and usually do continue to sell the brand name medication, but they have to deal with competition from other medicine makers who usually introduce generic versions of the brand name medication that have a similar chemical makeup to the brand name medication.

Why Are Generic Medications Cheaper Than Brand Name Medications?

Generic medications are often offered at lower prices than their brand name counterparts because the generic company does not have the cost of researching and developing the medication. The research and development are usually performed by the brand name medicine maker that spend tons of time and money to develop the combination of chemicals that are used to treat a certain disease.

Generic medicine makers take the work that a brand name medicine maker performs and they use or copy the same chemical makeup and introduce a generic version. They can offer the medicine at a lower price because they haven't had to pay to develop the medicine and conduct costly research that it took to create the medication.

Benefits of Patenting a Medicine

Some of the benefits of patenting medicine include the following:

  • The first benefit that medicine makers get by patenting their medication is the ability to stop others from using, making, selling, and copying their medication for a limited period of time, usually 20 years in the case of utility patents, which are used to protect medicine.
  • The second benefit is that by being able to stop others from making and selling medications with a similar chemical makeup, the medicine manufacturer enjoys a monopoly that allows it to raise the prices on the medication to recoup the cost of developing and creating the medication, as well as profit from the labor, time, and money that it took to develop and bring the medication to market.
  • By patenting a medicine, a medicine maker can bring a lawsuit against any party that infringes upon its patent by using, making, selling, or offering to sell a medication that copies the patented medication.
  • The benefit to the public that comes along with medicine patents is that they encourage drugmakers to spend the time, money, and resources to develop life-saving medications that millions of people use on a daily basis.

Patenting Medicine

By now, you should know that an inventor of medicine can protect his invention by obtaining a patent from the USPTO. Many pharmaceutical companies patent the medicine they make to be able to recoup and profit from the work and money it takes to create a medicine. Some argue that pharmaceutical makers profit too much, others reply by stating that they should be able to profit because they took the financial risk and spent the time developing a medication, therefore they should be allowed to profit for a limited period of time. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


provisional patent application conversion

Provisional Patent Conversion

If you have already filed a provisional patent application to protect your invention, you're probably wondering how you can convert your provisional utility patent application into a non-provisional (regular) utility patent application.

How to Convert a Provisional Patent Application into a Nonprovisional Patent Application?

According to the USPTO, to turn a provisional patent application into a non-provisional patent applicant and applicant has two options. The first option an applicant has is (1) to make a request that the patent office converts the provisional patent application into a non-provisional patent application. The second option (2) is for the applicant to submit a nonprovisional patent application that claims the benefit of the provisional patent application's filing date.

If an applicant chooses to go with the first option to convert his provisional patent application into a regular nonprovisional patent application, he must make such a request to the patent office and pay the required fees to make the conversion. For the applicant to successful convert his application, this request must be made within 12 months of filing the provisional patent application. Like with any other nonprovisional patent application, the applicant is required to pay the basic filing fee for the nonprovisional patent application, as well as the patent search fee and the patent examination fee.

If an applicant chooses to go with the second option, the applicant can submit a nonprovisional patent application that claims the benefit of the provisional patent application's filing date within the 12 months grace period that starts when an applicant filed his provisional patent application with the patent office. For an application to claim the benefit of the earlier priority date, the applicant will have to include a statement to convey the fact that his nonprovisional patent application is claiming the benefit to provisional patent application ######### filed on mm/dd/yyyy.

So, why would someone want to convert his provisional patent application into a nonprovisional patent application when he can file a nonprovisional patent application that claims the earlier filed a provisional patent application?

If an applicant goes with the first option and makes a request to convert his provisional patent application into a regular, nonprovisional patent application he loses the ability to claim the benefit of the earlier filing date.

However, if an applicant goes with the second option and files a regular, nonprovisional patent application with the patent office, he will be able to claim the benefit of the earlier filing date of the provisional patent application.

This could be great especially if you have an inventor that has filed a patent application after your provisional patent application's filing date to protect an invention that's the same as or similar to yours. In this case, by claiming the priority date of the earlier filed provisional application, your patent will have priority over his patent application.

On the other hand, if an applicant chooses to file a petition to convert his provisional patent application into a nonprovisional patent, the applicant will not be able to claim the filing date of the earlier filed provisional patent application.

Note: For an applicant to successfully claim the priority date of a previously filed provisional patent application, the subject matter of the nonprovisional patent application must be the same as the subject matter of the provisional patent application. The applicant or inventor cannot add new subject matter to the nonprovisional patent application. If the applicant adds new subject matter, the patent office will not allow him to claim the benefit of the earlier priority date.

Why Don't Inventors Just File a Nonprovisional Patent Application?

Some inventors choose to file a provisional patent application before filing a regular, nonprovisional patent application because provisional patent applications are often cheaper to obtain, easier to prepare, and they qualify inventions as patent-pending while they finish up working on their invention.

Often times, while an invention is patent-pending, applicants and inventors will seek to get funding for their invention and having patent-pending status demonstrates to potential investors that they've taken steps to protect their intellectual property.

Also, some inventors want to get a priority date for their invention. This is so because the United States gives priority to the first person who files a patent application and not to the person who first makes the invention. Having this requirement places pressure on inventors to file a provisional patent to hold their place in time by securing an early filing date.

Also, by choosing to file a provisional patent application prior to filing a nonprovisional patent application, inventors earn an extra year of patent protection. This is so because the patent term starts at the time an inventor files his first nonprovisional patent application. So, in essense, an inventor protects his invention for a year during the provisional patent application period, as well as an additional 20 years after filing his regular, nonprovisional patent application.

Hiring a Patent Attorney or Patent Agent to Assist you with Your Conversion

If you've already filed a provisional patent application and you're ready to file a regular, nonprovisional patent application you should seek the help of an attorney to prepare and file your regular patent application. While the patent office allows inventors to prepare and file their own nonprovisional patent application, they recommend that you seek the help of an attorney or patent agent because correctly preparing a nonprovisional application is difficult. To get your invention patented, you have to follow the strict rules of the USPTO.

If you can't afford to hire an attorney from a large firm, you can look for a sole practitioner or hire a patent agent to assist you with the preparation of your application. Patent agents are qualified and licensed by the patent office to assist inventors in preparing their patent application, filing it with the patent office, and communicating with the patent office on matters involving an inventor's patent application. Patent agents tend to charge considerably less than patent attorneys. That said, patent agents cannot handle matters outside the patent office, such as drafting confidentiality agreements or representing inventors in court.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Does a provisional patent application turn into a patent?

Provisional patent applications are only placeholders in time. Provisional patent application do not, under any circumstances, turn into a granted patent. To get a patent, an applicant for a provisional patent has the option to file a petition to convert his provisional patent to a nonprovisional patent or file a nonprovisional patent application claiming an earlier filed provisional patent application.

2) How much time does an inventor have to file a nonprovisional patent application?

Inventors and applicants must file a nonprovisional patent application within 12 months of filing their provisional patent application.

3) How long is the patent term?

Patents last for 20 years from the date an inventor files a nonprovisional patent application with the patent office. If an inventor files a provisional patent application and then files a nonprovisional patent application, the patent term is calculated from the date the applicant files his nonprovisional patent application.

4) Where can you file a provisional patent application?

If you have an invention, you can file a provisional patent application online by filling out your information, as well as providing basic information about your patent. Just make sure you adequately describe your invention so that if you want to file a regular, nonprovisional application later that you're invention then is the same as the one you described in your provisional patent application.

5) Can you raise money by filing a provisional patent?

Many inventors who file a provisional patent, file it to make their invention more attractive to potential investors. Typically, when an investor sees that an individual has taken steps to legally protect his invention, it makes investing in the invention more lucrative since others will not be able to copy it if the patent office grants the inventor a patent.

Converting a Provisional Patent

By now, you should know the difference between filing a petition to convert your provisional patent into a regular, nonprovisional patent vs filing a nonprovisional patent application that claims the benefit of an earlier-filed provisional patent. We also discussed some of the most frequently asked questions that we get. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


can you patent a beverage formula?

Can You Patent a Beverage Formula?

If you've just created a new drink that tastes different than anything that's out there, you may be wondering whether you can protect your intellectual property (IP) by patenting the formula for your beverage. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows inventors to protect their IP by granting them patents.

Patents allow inventors to restrict others from making, using, selling, or offering to sell the patented invention for a limited period of time of 20 years from the date you file your utility patent application with the patent office. So, can you protect your beverage formula by patenting it?

Can You Patent a Beverage Formula?

The short answer is yes, you can patent a beverage in the United States by filing a utility patent application with the patent office and satisfying the requirements for a utility patent.

So, you might be wondering, what are the requirements to patent your beverage? To patent your beverage formula, you will need to show that your beverage formula qualifies as patentable subject matter, your beverage formula is novel (new), it's nonobvious, and it's useful.

Two of the biggest hurdles anyone who wants to patent a beverage formula will face is establishing that the formula is new and that it's nonobvious. If you have modified an existing beverage by adding an extra ingredient or two, it's unlikely that the patent office would consider the drink to be new or nonobvious because of the ordinary person standard.

Under the ordinary person standard, you will have to show that an ordinary person skilled in the beverage industry would have not found your formula to be obvious at the time of filing your patent application. Typically, adding a new ingredient is not sufficient to support a finding of nonobviousness.

What Should You Do Before Patenting Your Beverage?

Before patenting your beverage, you should perform a search of the USPTO patent database to see if anyone else has patented a beverage that the same as or similar to the one you're seeking to patent. If the search turns up results that are similar, write them down and explain why your formula is different. If the search doesn't turn up any results, the chances of patenting your beverage are better.

Note: You can't patent something that is considered to be prior art. Prior art means everything that has been publicly disclosed and patent at the patent office. For you, this means that you cannot patent a beverage formula if someone before has already posted it online because it falls under prior art, which cannot be patented.

After determining that no one else has patented the beverage formula you're seeking to patent, you'll know that your chances of patenting your beverage formula are better than if your search turned up something similar. After conducting your research, if things look good, you can move on to preparing a patent application for your beverage formula.

Preparing and Filing a Patent Application for Your Beverage Formula

Now that you've conducted a patent search, you can either prepare a utility patent application for your beverage on your own or you can hire an attorney to help you with its preparation.

Although the patent office actually offers help to inventors who want to prepare their own patent application, they recommend hiring an attorney to assist inventors because many inventors don't have experience preparing their own patent application. For newbies the process is complex and long, so seeking the help of an attorney is recommended for these reasons.

When preparing the patent application for your beverage formula you will have to satisfy the requirements set forth by the patent office. These requirements include showing the following:

  • Your beverage formula contains patentable subject matter,
  • Your beverage formula is novel (new),
  • Your beverage formula is nonobvious, and
  • Your beverage formula is useful

Your Beverage Formula Must Contain Patentable Subject Matter

To patent your beverage formula or any invention, the patent office requires it to have patentable subject matter. Said differently, your beverage formula must be an invention for which the patent office offers patents. Here, you're mixing substances and then using a process to create the final result, which is a beverage. So, a beverage formula will probably satisfy this requirement. That said, you're not done yet, you still have to satisfy the following three requirements.

Your Beverage Formula Must be Novel

The novelty requirement requires your beverage formula to be novel (new), this basically means that the formula for your beverage must have never existed before. Applying this reasoning to the formula of your beverage becomes a little more complicated and you might be wondering, do the ingredients have to be new? or does the combination of ingredients used to make the final product have to be new?

The combination (formula) has to be new. You can use ingredients that others have used in beverages but you have to add new ingredients to make something that's totally new. For example, if you're simply adding more carbonation or more sugar to a drink to make it taste better, it's unlikely that the patent office will let you patent it.

Having said that, if your formula is new, meaning that it's different from anything that's published online or anywhere and has not been patented, your beverage may qualify for a utility patent.

Your Beverage Formula Must be Nonobvious

To protect your beverage with a utility patent, an applicant will have to show that the beverage was nonobvious. Said differently, an applicant will have to show the beverage formula was not obvious at the time of filing the utility patent application.

When the patent office looks into the nonobviousness of your beverage formula, they will look at it from the point of view of the ordinary observer. This means that they will judge its obviousness by asking whether an ordinary person skilled in the beverage industry would have seen the beverage formula as being obvious at the time the applicant files his utility patent application with the patent office. This is a subjective inquiry that the patent examiner has to make.

If the patent examiner determines that the ordinary person would have determined that your beverage formula is obvious, the patent examiner will reject your patent application and keep it from going forward. Adding an ingredient, such as more sugar or adding strawberry flavoring to a drink is unlikely to make it qualify for a patent because an ordinary person may have thought about doing that.

The obviousness requirement is the biggest hurdle that an applicant applying to protect his beverage formula will face. To patent your beverage formula, it has to contain something new, something no one else has thought about adding to a drink.

Your drink might qualify for a patent if you add something like a newly developed artificial sweetener that makes your beverage taste way better than anything out there. Such a beverage may qualify for a utility patent.

In short, your beverage or drink has to have something unexpected add it for it to qualify for a patent. The more unexpected the ingredients, the more likely the patent office will grant you a patent because you want your drink formula to be as nonobvious as possible.

Your Beverage Formula Must Be Useful

Most beverage formulas are not challenged on the grounds that they are not useful, but it's important to note that this is a requirement to obtain a utility patent to protect your formula from being copied.

To show usefulness, an applicant will have to show that the beverage formula provides some identifiable benefit and is capable of being used. If you have a drink that, for example, quenches thirst or provides energy, you're likely going to easily satisfy the usefulness requirement.

When preparing your utility patent application, you will have to list why your invention (beverage formula) is useful, as well as how your formula can be used. Like we said previously, the patent office rarely rejects patent applications on the ground that the invention is not useful. So, as long as you comply with the requirements to prepare your patent application, this section should not pose any problems.

Attorney

If you have a new and unique beverage formula that you know you can commercialize, you should contact an experienced patent attorney and chat with them about potentially patenting your formula. The attorney may have some valuable information that will clarify some of the questions you may have. Also, he may advise you as to whether you should proceed with patenting your drink formula.

If the attorney determines that everything looks good, you should consider having him prepare and file your patent application. While the patent office does not require inventors or applicants to be represented by an attorney, they do recommend that you have an attorney assist you in patenting your invention. This is so because obtaining a utility patent is a complex process that requires the assistance of someone experienced in patenting inventions.

That said, if you don't have the funds to hire a patent attorney but still want a professional to assist you with patenting your beverage formula, you can look into hiring a patent agent. Patents agents are qualified and licensed by the patent office to prepare and file patent applications, as well as deal with and communicate with the patent office on your behalf. Hiring a patent agent increases the chances of the work being done right at a lower price.

Cost

The cost to patent a beverage formula could cost anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000. The majority of the cost is having an attorney assist you in preparing and file your utility patent application. The cost that we just mentioned only applies to have an attorney prepare and file your patent application, if the attorney needs to do additional work, such as communicating with the patent office or making amendments to your patent application, he may charge you more for such services.

Sample Cost to Patent Your Beverage:

  • Utility patent application filing fee: $75
  • Utility patent search fee: $165
  • Utility patent examination fee: $190
  • Attorney fees: $8,000

Benefits of Patenting Your Beverage Formula

The main benefit of patenting your beverage or drink formula is that you will be granted the right to restrict others from using, making, selling, or offering to sell the patented beverage for a limited period of time (20 years from the filing date of your patent application).

During the 20-year patent term, you can be the only person to make and sell the patented beverage without having to worry about competitors copying your drink.

In the event that someone else copies your beverage formula and sells it, you will be able to stop them from making and selling the beverage by bringing a patent infringement lawsuit against them in federal court. If your lawsuit is successful, the court will order the party that's infringing upon your patent to stop making and selling the beverage that infringes upon your patent.

Note: If someone infringes upon your patent, the patent office is not responsible for stopping them. It's up to you, the patent holder, to go out, find anyone who is copying your beverage formula and suing them to seize the activities that infringe upon your patent. Said differently, you have to police your own patent because the patent office isn't responsible for doing so.

Patenting Your Beverage Formula

Now that you know you can patent your beverage formula, so long as it's new, unique, and satisfies the requirements set forth by the USPTO. Patenting a beverage is not an easy task, mainly because of the nonobviousness requirements. If you have a drink formula that you want to patent, you should contact an attorney and consult them about how you should proceed with protecting your intellectual property with a patent. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


can you extend a patent?

Can You Extend a Patent?

The USPTO offers three different types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. If you've successfully patent your invention or design, you might be wondering how to extend the term of your patent? We will answer this below.

Utility patents and plant patents granted by the patent office in the United States last for 20 years from the filing date of your patent application. Design patents, on the other hand, last for 15 years from the date the patent office grants the patent.

Once the patent term expires, the inventor loses the right to restrict others from using, making, and selling the patented invention and the invention falls into the public domain, meaning that anyone can use or sell the invention without the express permission of the patent holder. So, can any of these patents be extended beyond their expiration date?

Can You Extend a Patent?

Generally, patents cannot be extended beyond the statutory patent term. However, the government does make some rare exceptions, such as those made for pharmaceuticals because of the large amount of time it takes the government to test drugs before granting the inventor a patent. So, unless you're attempting to extend the life a pharmaceutical drug, you're unlikely going to succeed in extending the term of your patent.

Like we previously mentioned, utility patents last for 20 years from the moment an applicant files his utility patent application. So, logically, applicants want the patent office to approve their patent application as quickly as possible. But, the patent office has more than 500,000 pending patent applications and so the process takes time.

On average, it takes the patent office 24 months to approve a patent application. Consequently, applicants often believe that the patent office should compensate them for the 24 months that it took the office to approve their patent. However, this is not how the patent office works.

So long as a substantial and undue delay has not been caused, the patent office will not extend the term of a patent, especially if it took the patent office less than three years to approve the patent application.

In some rare circumstances, the patent office extends the patent term fir applications that were pending for more than three years. The extensions are often issued in circumstances where the delay is caused by more than one inventor seeking to obtain a patent on the same invention.

That said, the patent office does not offer these extensions freely. If you want the patent term extended, you'll need to apply for a patent term adjustment (PTA) and you should keep in mind that the patent office rarely grants them.

Here are some circumstances where the patent office may grant you a patent term adjustment (PTA):

  • The patent office may issue a PTA if the patent office does not send out its first office action with 14 months of an applicant filing his patent application with the patent office
  • The patent office may grant a PTA if the time it takes the patent office to prosecute and grant a patent application exceeds 3 years. The 3 year period is calculated from the date an applicant files his patent application with the patent office and the date on which the patent office grants the patent application. If this period exceeds 3 years, the patent office will make a patent term adjustment.

Patent Term

In the United States and elsewhere, an inventor who patents his invention is given a monopoly over his invention for a limited period of time (20 years for utility patents and 15 years for design patents). This monopoly allows inventors to recoup the costs associated with creating their invention, as well as an opportunity to profit from their hard work. Naturally, inventors try to extend the period of time to profit from their invention.

While generally speaking, inventors are not permitted to extend the term of their patent unless the delay in obtaining a patent is significant and was caused by the patent office. Patent applicants are most successful in extending the patent term in the pharmaceutical industry where a patent for pharmaceuticals could remain pending for more than 7 years.

Because of the significant delays in patenting pharmaceuticals, courts are more lenient and allow patent term extensions to allow drug manufacturers to recoup the costs associated with researching and developing life-saving drugs.

So, should the government extend the patent term to award inventors? Some argue that the patent term should be extended to reward inventors who often disclose inventions that are beneficial to society.

This notion is based on the fact that inventors will disclose their inventions, such as new medications, earlier if they know that the government will reward them with the ability to exploit and profit from their invention for a longer period of time.

Depending on how you ask, you will get a different answer to this question. Some will say that extending the patent term is bad because it allows inventors to charge high prices for the use of their invention. On the other hand, others argue that extending the patent term will add further encouragement for inventors to make new inventions, machines, drugs that will further improve the health and wellbeing of society.

Improvement Patent

Inventors can patent improvements that they make to existing inventions. This allows inventors to restrict others from using the improved version of the original patented invention. However, you should know that sometimes the inventor or applicant for the improved invention will need a license from the original inventor to use the improved invention. This is so because improvement patents build upon and improve an already existing, patented invention.

That said, inventors often make improvements that were not obvious can be used to extend the life of a patent that's about to expire. Because the invention as improved will be granted a new patent term, allowing the inventor to restrict others from using, making, and selling the improved invention.

One way to continue profiting from your invention is to improve upon it. This is especially important if you already patented a commercially successful invention. Think about how you can improve it in a way that will make your customers want to buy the improved form of your invention as opposed to the older version.

If an inventor can figure this out, he will be able to continue to profit from his invention in its modified form. This will not only allow you to continue to profit but to stay ahead of your competition.

Patent Expiration

At the end of the patent term, patents expire and become part of the public domain. What does this mean for a patent holder? It means that he will no longer be able to restrict others from using, making, or selling the invention.

Others will be able to freely copy and sell the once patented invention without having to obtain the consent of the patent holder. In the pharmaceutical industry, this means that other companies will be able to produce generic brands of the drug and offer them to the public at a lower cost.

The inventor of a product will be able to continue to manufacture and sell the once patented product, but he should expect competition from others who may have made the same exact product. Basically, once a patent expires anyone can copy the invention and sell his own version even if it's an exact replica of the inventor's invention.

So, why does the law have an expiration date on patents? why not allow them to exist forever? The government has limited the amount of time that an inventor can benefit from his utility patent to 20 years because allowing them indefinitely would stifle competition.

Once patents expire, the technology that was once protected and available to a few people becomes widely adopted as prices typically drop and more people can manufacture the same invention and sell it to the public. Therefore, there is a good reason for granting temporary monopolies to inventors vs permanent ones.

Extending Your Patent

By now, you probably know that extending the term of your patent is a difficult task to do, especially if the delay was not caused by the patent office. Inventors have a few options to continue to benefit and profit from their invention, such as patenting improvement to their inventions. We also touched on the benefits and drawbacks of extending the patent term. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


can you patent a purse design?

Can You Patent a Purse Design?

If you have designed a new pursue, you may be wondering whether you can patent your new purse design? The USPTO offers inventors of new designs the ability to protect their design by applying for a design patent. Design patents allow inventors to restrict others from using, making, selling, or offering to sell the item bearing the patented design for a limited period of time. In the case of design patents, this limited period of time lasts for 15 years from the date the patent office grants the applicant's design patent. So, can you patent a purse design? We will answer this question below.

Can You Patent a Purse Design?

The answer is: yes, you can patent a purse design by filing a design patent application at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, you should know the differences between a utility patent and a design patent to determine what type of protection you need for your purse design. If you're only seeking to protect the design of your purse, you can do so by filing a design patent application with the patent office. However, if the purse design you want to patent offers some sort of utility or function, then a utility patent is appropriate.

Patenting your purse design with either a design patent or utility patent allows you to curb the competition by giving you the ability to restrict others from using, making, selling, offering to sell, and import the purse you've patented for a limited period of time. Design patents offer 15 years of protection from the date the patent office grants your design patent application. Utility patents offer 20 years of protection that starts from the moment you file your utility patent application at the post office.

By patenting your purse design, you will be the only party that's able to use, make, and sell the purse that you've patented. Also, some of the benefits of patenting your purse are that you can license the patent to other people to use and make the patented item or you can sell the patent entirely. Therefore, patenting your design or invention gives you some power over what you do with it.

Getting a Design Patent For Your New Purse Design

If the design of the purse you're seeking to patent is new and unique, you will be able to protect it with a design patent so long as you satisfy the following requirements:

  • The purse must be new and unique,
  • The design of the purse must not affect its function,
  • The design must be inseparable from the purse, and
  • No one must have patented a pursue with a similar design

If you believe that your purse design satisfies these elements, you can go ahead and begin preparing your design patent application. Many design patent applicants opt to hire an attorney to help them prepare and file their design patent application. Design patent law is somewhat complicated, so having an attorney who understands patent law is important and vital to your patent's success.

That said, it's not unheard of for a person to prepare and file their own design patent application, just know that it's difficult to do if you've never prepared an application yourself.

What Aspects of Your Purse Design Can You Protect

A design patent can protect the following aspects of your purse design:

  • The shape of your purse
  • Any ornaments you've applied to your purse
  • Designs applied to your purse

Note: You must file your design patent application within one year of publicly disclosing your purse design, selling it, or offering it for sale. The United States Patent Office offers this grace period, which is quite different from other countries, many of which don't allow inventors to patent designs that they've publicly disclosed. So, don't procrastinate and file that application. If you intend to protect your design in other countries, it's a good idea to not disclose your design at all.

Protecting One Purse Design Per Design Patent

Applicants for a design patent can only protect one design per design patent application, so if you've designed a new purse, you can only protect one design. If you have other purse designs that you want to protect, you must apply to protect each design separately.

Having said that, the patent office does allow applicants to submit different embodiments (variations) of the same design. However, you should know that submitting different variations of the same design increases the likelihood of the patent office rejecting your application. So, it's a good idea to settle on one design without having different variations and then applying to patent the design variation that you like the most.

Why does having multiple embodiments increase the change of the patent office rejecting your application? The chances of getting your application rejected increases because the patent examiner assigned to examine your design patent may find that you're trying to patent multiple distinct designs. As we previously said, applicants are only allowed to patent one design per application. Therefore, it's a good idea to submit one design without additional embodiments.

If the patent office rejects your application for finding more than one distinct design, you will have to spend more time and money to rectify the situation. Also, the patent examiner will force you to choose one design and the rest of the design may fall into the public domain. So, be careful if you're including multiple embodiments. We recommend only including one purse design without embodiments, this strategy could save you time and money.

Protecting the Functional Aspects of the Purse You Have Invented

If the purse you've invented has any new functional features, you can seek to protect those features by applying for a utility patent. Utility patents protect how an invention works. So, if your new invention (purse) has, for example, a new type of zipper or mechanism that organizes items, you might be able to protect those function features with a utility patent.

Utility patents, like design patents, will allow you to restrict others from using, making, selling, or offer to sell a pursue that has a similar function to the one that you've patented.

Also, having dual protection (utility patent and design patent) makes your invention (purse) look better to the public and potential purchasers because of the fact that it qualified for both a design and utility patent.

Benefits of Patenting A Purse

There are some benefits associated with patenting a new purse, here are some of them:

  • You get to stop others from copying or stealing the design of your purse
  • 15 years of design patent protection
  • 20 years of utility patent protection
  • Ability to license the design of your purse or its functional aspects
  • Being the sole person to use and make the patented purse

Drawbacks of Patenting a Purse

Now that we've covered the benefits of patenting your invention, here are some of the drawbacks:

  • The patent process is complex
  • The patent process is expensive
  • Fashion trends tend to move quickly, quicker than the patent process

When Does Patenting a Purse Make Sense?

Patenting a purse that you've designed or invented makes sense if the fashion trend for the purse lasts for a long period of time. If it lasts for a long time, you can justify the cost of going through the patenting process. For example, Louis Vuitton benefits when it patents the design of the purse because it makes big profits from the various purse designs it sells.

Now, we're not saying that you have to be Louis Vuitton to patent a purse design. If you have a purse design or a functional aspect of a purse that you want to protect, you should conduct a study to determine whether the purse will be commercially successful. If you determine that it will be successful then patenting is the way to go because you want to protect your valuable intellectual property.

The Process to Patent a Purse

To patent the design or function of a purse, you will have to make sure that no one has patented the design or functional aspects that you're seeking to protect. After conducting a patent search and making sure that no has a patent on what you're trying to protect, you can go ahead and prepare the patent application. Many inventors choose to have a lawyer prepare and file their patent application to avoid costly mistakes.

After you or your attorney prepare the patent application, it's time to file it with the patent office and pay the required fees (ouch!). After filing your application with the USPTO, you can track the status of your application(s) using the USPTO website.

Make sure that any inquiries or requests for information or amendments are replied to within the allotted time-frame. Now, it's just a waiting game to see if the patent examiner approves or rejects your patent application. Hopefully, you heard good news, and your patent is granted.

If the patent office grants your application, you can enforce your rights under the patent immediately. Just remember, you can take legal action against anyone until the patent office approves or grants your patent application.

Patenting a Purse Design

We covered most of the things you have to consider when patenting the design of your purse, as well as the functional aspects of your purse. Just remember to study the market to ensure there is a market for your process. The patenting process is complex, long, and expensive. Only patent a purse if you're confident that it will be commercially successful and profitable. That said, if you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


can you patent a card game?

Can you Patent a Card Game?

If you've just come up with the best card game, can you protect it with a patent? Patents grants inventors a monopoly over their invention for a limited period of time. For utility patents, this protection lasts for 20 years from the date an applicant files his utility patent application with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). So, can a card game be patented? We will answer this below.

Can You Patent a Card Game?

Answering the question of whether you can patent a card depends on the type of card game you're patenting. If you only have rules that involve a standard deck of cards, you may not be able to patent the card game. However, if your card game involves a newly invented deck of cards, your chances of getting a patent are substantially higher. Therefore, the answer depends on what type of card game you're seeking to protect with a patent.

The rules for patenting card games became substantially stricter in recent years with the patent office requiring card games to have more substance in order for the patent office to grant them a patent.

Under the current law, an inventor of a new card game must show that the card game to be patented involves more than just a set of rules for the game. Said differently, the card game must involve more than just a set of rules governing a game that uses a standard deck of cards.

So, here's a tip, if you want to patent a card game, try developing a new card deck to go along with your card game, this will substantially increase the likelihood that the patent office will grant you a patent to protect your card game.

The law as it currently stands considers rules governing a card game using a standard deck of cards, as an abstract idea that does not qualify for patent protection. To patent your card game, the patent office wants to see that you have invented something new in addition to a set of rules that applies to a standard deck of cards.

So, to patent your card game, try inventing a new deck of cards and a new set of rules that apply to how players interact with your card game. Just note that patenting your card game is not cheap, so make sure that you have a game that's worth patenting before applying for patent protection. Also, make sure that no one else has already invented the game you're trying to protect with a patent.

Can You Protect Your Card Game with a Design Patent

Now that we've covered whether you can obtain a utility patent on your card game, let's discuss whether you can obtain a design patent on your card game. Design patents protect new and unique designs that are applied to an object, here if you've invented a new card game where the deck of cards or board associated with your game has a unique appearance, you can protect that appearance by applying for a design patent application.

So, why would an inventor of a new card game apply for a design patent? An inventor of a new card game should apply for a design patent because it grants the inventor of the card game the right to restrict others from using, making, selling, or offering to sell a card game that has a similar appearance to the one that the card game maker has patented.

If anyone copies, sells or offers to sell a board game that's similar to the one you've patented, you will be able to sue them for design patent infringement in federal court. If your lawsuit is successful, the court will issue a court order, ordering the party infringing upon your design to seize its infringing activities.

Just remember that design patents protect a single appearance, so if you have more than one card game design that you want to protect, you'll have to file a separate design patent application to protect the different kinds of design associated with your card game.

Can You Trademark Your Card Game?

In addition to a utility patent and design patent, your card game could be eligible for trademark protection. Trademarks protect the features of your card game that customers use to identify you or your business as the source of the goods or services. So, if your card has a unique name that customers associate with your brand, you might be able to protect it by registering your trademark with the USPTO.

So, what benefits do you get if your trademark the name of your card game? If you trademark the name of your game, you get nationwide protection of your trademark, meaning that you can be the only person to use the trademark to refer to your card game. You will also be able to restrict others from using the same name or confusingly similar name to refer to their card game.

If anyone infringes on your trademark by applying the same name or logo to their game, you'll be able to sue them for trademark infringement. If your lawsuit is successful, the court will issue a court order, ordering the party infringing upon your trademark to stop using your registered trademark to refer to their card game.

How Much Does Patenting Your Card Game Cost?

Utility patents are very expensive to obtain in general, so applying what we know about utility patent application to card games, an inventor of a new card game should expect to pay between $5,000 to $12,000 for an attorney to prepare and file a utility patent application. The cost depends on how complex the card game is, as well as whether the attorney will need to perform work in addition to what's required to prepare the patent application.

Often times, attorneys have to communicate with the patent office and make amendments to the utility patent application, this all costs more money than what's required to prepare and file the application.

Also, the patent office charges filing fees, utility patent search fees, and utility patent examination fees. If you're a single inventor or small business, you should expect to spend another $1,000 on filing fees. If the patent office grants your utility patent application, you should expect to spend another $250 for the patent issuance fee.

That said, design patents are much cheaper to obtain than utility patents. So, if your card game has a unique appearance that you want to protect, you can find a design patent application in addition to the utility patent application. The design patent will protect the new and unique appearance of your game. Design patent attorneys typically charge between $1,500 to $3,500 to prepare and file a design patent application, so it's much cheaper than a utility patent, which requires significantly more work.

Card Game Patenting Deadline

If you have a card game on your hand that qualifies for patent protection, you should apply to patent it within one year of publicly disclosing your card game, selling it, or offering it for sale. The USPTO offers inventors a one year grace period in which to apply for patent protection. If it has been more than one year of disclosing your card game, you will be barred from applying for a patent.

Also, if you want to patent your card game in other countries, just note that some countries are not as lenient as the United States, requiring an applicant to apply for a patent before any public disclosure of the card game has taken place. Therefore, if you have a card game that qualifies for patent protection and has the potential for commercial success, keep it secret until you file your patent application in the U.S and abroad.

Do You Need an Attorney to Patent Your Card Game?

The patent office does not require applicants applying to protect their card game to have an attorney representing them. Inventors and applicants are free to prepare and file their utility and design patent applications without the assistance of an attorney.

That said, the patent office recommends that applicants hire an attorney to assist them with the preparation and filing of their patent application because patent law can be quite complex and having an attorney on your side reduces the possibility of making mistakes that could get your patent application rejected.

If money is an issue and you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you should look into hiring a patent agent to assist you with your patent application. Patent agents are qualified and licensed to prepare and file patent applications, as well as communicate with the patent office on your behalf.

Does Copyright Law Protect Card Games?

Copyright law does not offer much protection to inventors of a new card game. This is because while the text of the rules can be copyrighted, the way the game is played cannot be copyrighted. Copyright law may protect the artwork that's used on the cards or for the text of the rules that's printed on the list of rules of the game, but that's about as far as copyright law applies. If you have a unique card game, the best method to protect it is by applying and getting a patent on your card game. Copyright law barely offers inventors of new card games any meaningful protection.

Patenting a Card Game

As we mentioned earlier if you have a new and unique card game that qualifies for patent protection, patenting it is the best way to protect it from being copied and stolen. Just remember that your card game may be eligible for both a utility patent and design patent protection. If you believe that your card game has the potential for commercial success, file a patent application before publicly disclosing your card game. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


Can perfume be patented?

Can Perfume be Patented?

Many inventors create new perfumes, so the question we want to answer today is whether they can patent the perfume they've created. Patents are intellectual property rights that grant inventors a monopoly over the invention for a limited period of time, usually 20 years from the time an inventor files his utility patent application.

Can Perfume be Patented?

The short answer is that only the composition of perfume can be patented, the scent itself cannot be patented. Said differently, only the mixture of ingredients that go into perfumes can be patented. The USPTO has even created an entire classification system that deals with perfume patents. Just remember, the scent of perfume itself cannot be protected with a patent because it does not fall under the definition of a patent because it does not qualify as a composition of matter, but the unique mixture of ingredients that go into perfume can be patented.

Those who invent new perfumes often do not seek to patent them because part of filing a patent application requires the disclosure of all of the ingredients that go into the perfume. Patent applications become public after a short period of time. Therefore, many perfume makers choose not to patent their perfume to avoid having the ingredients become public.

If you choose to patent your perfume, just know that you will have to disclose everything that goes into making your perfume to obtain the broadest patent protection possible. For many, making this broad of disclosure is not the smartest thing to do, especially if you have a really unique and commercially successful perfume that's difficult to reverse engineer.

That said, if you successfully patent a new and unique mixture of ingredients for a perfume, you will be able to restrict others from using, making, selling, or offering to sell a perfume that has a similar mixture to the one you've patented.

However, in the past, large perfume makers have erred on the side of caution and have not sought to patent their perfumes. They realize that patents grant important intellectual property rights, but not important enough to disclose the exact ingredients and quantities that go into making their successful lines of perfumes.

Can You Protect Your Perfume with a Design Patent?

You cannot protect perfume using a design patent, this is so because design patents protect the aesthetic or ornamental appearance of an object. Here, perfume does not fall within the protection of design patent law because perfume itself does not have an appearance that can be protected.

That said, while the perfume inside of the perfume bottle cannot be protected with a design patent, the perfume bottle or packaging can be protected with a design patent if they have a new and unique appearance.

Of course, for your perfume bottle to qualify for a design patent, you will have to show that your perfume bottle is new and unique and you are in fact the inventor of the design that's applied to the bottle.

To protect the design of your perfume bottle or its packaging, you will have to prepare and file a design patent application with the USPTO. Design patents are fairly easy to get so long as you comply with all of the patent office's application requirements.

Once the patent office issues or grants your design patent, you can restrict others from using a perfume bottle that has a similar design to the one you've patented. This protection lasts for 15 years from the date the patent office grants your design patent application.

Can You Protect Your Perfume with a Trademark?

Now that we've discussed that you can protect the mixture of ingredients that go into a perfume with a utility patent, and the design of the perfume bottle using a design patent, you should know that you can trademark the name of your perfume by registering your trademark with the USPTO.

If you have a brand of perfume that your customers use to identify you as the source of the perfume, you can protect that brand (whether it's a name or logo) by filing a trademark application with the trademark office.

Registering your perfume trademark with the USPTO, gives you nationwide protection over the brand of your perfume, allowing you to prohibit others from using your trademark brand (name or logo) on their own perfume bottles wherever they may be in the United States.

If someone infringes on your trademark by labeling their perfume as originating from you, you will be able to sue them for trademark infringement. If your lawsuit is successful, you will be able to get a court order, ordering them to seize their infringing activities.

Also, you can protect the scent of your perfume with a trademark if your scent is one that identifies you or your business as the source of the perfume. To protect the scent of your perfume with a trademark, you are required to send a sample of the perfume to the trademark office. If you've invented a very popular and commercially successful, it may be worth protecting the scent of it with a trademark.

Trade Secret Protection for your Perfume

Since patents require the disclosure of all of the ingredients that go into a perfume, perfume makers often opt to protect their perfumes under trade secret law. Trade secret law allows perfume makers to protect the formula of their perfume without having to publicly disclose the ingredients of the formula. By allowing perfumer makers to keep the formula secret, perfume makers don't have to worry about other parties copying the formula to make a similar, competing fragrance.

How Much Does it Cost to Patent Your Perfume?

If you're seeking to protect the mixture of ingredients that go into your perfume, you should expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 to protect your invention with the patent office. The majority of the cost associated with patenting your perfume comes in the form of attorney fees involved in the preparation and filing of your utility patent application.

The second portion of fees associated with patenting your perfume comes from fees that the USPTO charges inventors to patent their inventions. The patent office charges filing fees, patent search fees, and patent examination fees that are approximately $1,000 in total. Also, if the patent office grants you a patent on your perfume, you should expect to pay a hefty issuance fee that ranges between $250 to $1,000, depending on the size of the business applying for the patent.

Also, if the patent office grants your utility patent application, you will be responsible for making maintenance fees on the patent for your perfume. Three maintenance fees must be made at years 3.5, 6.5, and 11.5 years.

Deadline to Patent Your Perfume

Patent Law states that an inventor of any composition of matter must file his patent application with the USPTO within one year of publicly disclosing, selling, or offering to sell the perfume mixture to be patented.

While the USPTO offers this one year grace period, other countries do not, instead they require inventors to file their patent application prior to publicly disclosing or offering the perfume for sale.

So, if you have a perfume that you want to protect with a patent, make sure that you apply for protection no more than 12 months after publicly disclosing or offering your perfume for sale.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Patent Your Perfume?

The USPTO allows inventors to represent themselves in patent and patent-related matters. So, if you are an inventor you are free to prepare and file a patent for your perfume. Although it's allowed to do so, the patent office recommends that inventors hire an attorney to prepare and file their patent application because the patent process is complex and requires a professional, who is able to pay close attention to detail. Making even seemingly minor mistakes could get your patent application rejected, costing you more and money.

Patenting a perfume tends to be difficult because of all of the ingredients that go in and the process that's used to create them. So if you have a commercially successful perfume that you have to patent, contact a patent attorney or patent agent to assist you with the preparation and filing of your patent application.

Perfume Patent

We have covered whether a perfume can be patented? We have concluded that while the scent of perfume cannot be patented, the mix of ingredients in a perfume formula can be protected by a utility patent. While utility patents are not the most popular form of protection for perfume, they are available for perfumes. Many opt to protect their perfume formula as a trade secret to avoid disclosure of their formula. That said, if you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


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 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.


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.