A patent granted in the United States provides the patent owner with exclusive rights to commercially exploit his/her invention.
In exchange, an inventor must disclose information relating to the invention to the United States Patent Office (USPTO), and thereby the general public as well. For an invention to be patentable, it must include new and unobvious features when compared to what is already publicly available at the time when a patent is filed.
A patent must be prepared either by an inventor or by a patent attorney on behalf of the inventor. If a patent attorney is preparing an invention, it is good practice for the patent attorney to discuss the inventor’s invention to determine which features of the invention are new and possible design arounds. For this reason, it is beneficial to have a local patent attorney to discuss in person the inventor’s invention. However, these discussions can also take place over the phone or via skype if a face-to-face discussion is not possible. For this reason, many of Pierson Intellectual Property’s clients are located in Austin, throughout Texas and Washington D.C.
The patent application then undergoes an examination process in the patent office, where the examiners at the patent office will search for publications that are relevant to the invention. The examiner will then form a report, which is a report to the patent attorney, whether the features of your invention as described in the claims of a patent application are new and unobvious in view of relevant publications.
If a patent is not initially granted, a patent attorney and/or the inventor may respond by limiting the scope of their claimed invention to have a better chance at obtaining patent protection.
Once a patent is granted, it is presumed to be valid throughout the term of its protection, which is 20 years from the date the application was filed.