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What are the primary types of patents?
There are three categories of patent, as follows:
• Utility Patents – This generally covers the creation of a new composition of matter, function, or process. This includes machines, procedures, and chemical compounds. These creations must be a novel (new), non-obvious, and useful. The term of protection is 20 years from the date of filing.
• Design Patents – This covers the pattern, design, or overall appearance (including ornamentation) of a product. It generally includes new, original, and ornamental or aesthetic design for an article of manufacture. It concerns appearance and is not related to function. The term of protection is 14 years from date of issue.
• Plant Patents – This covers the development of a new plant species through genetic engineering. This may include hybrid species of crops or a new variety of plant that can be reproduced asexually. The term of protection is 20 years from date of filing.
Utility patents are commonly employed by firms with the objective of creating innovative products or processes. Design patents, on the other hand, are the focus of aesthetic differentiation for new or existing products. Plant patents serve an important role in the development of greater food production methods and genetically modified strains of plant that produce more and better withstand environmental pressures.
• Discussion: Why do you think these three types of creation are granted specific categories of patent protection? Why do you think the period of protection differs among these types of patents?
• Practice Questions: Patrick developed a native, smartphone application with supporting software capability. He believes that he will be able to commercialize his invention. He is curious as to what type of intellectual property protection he should pursue?