Protect How Your Ideas Look and Feel

You have an idea. Now what? In the United States inventions are covered by patents. The characteristics of the invention will determine the patent type you should apply for. Design patents cover the ornamental, non functional features of a product. A design patent is appropriate for products that are to be commercialized. If it is for a one of a kind creation, like a piece of art, a copyright may be appropriate. Utility patents are more complicated and cover the functional aspects of an invention. As expected Utility Patents take more work and cost more in attorney and government fees, they also take several longer time to issue.
Most products released by Apple are protected by several design patents and utility patents. The design patent covers Apple unique products look and feel including the icons in the screens. The utility patents cover the guts of Apple’s products. Design patents cover the specific design filed in the application, so if there are variations to the design, they may be outside the scope of the patent. Whether an alternative design is so close as to infringe the patent is decided in a case by case basis. Inventors can be proactive, by licensing the design to potential competitors, saving design time, and reducing the chances of litigation.
For a design patent, the design should not have been for sale for more than a year before filing the application. For a utility patent, the invention should not have disclosed or shown publicly by the inventor for more than a year before the filing date.
Remember that patents are territorial, they can only be enforced in the countries where they are granted. So if you are going to do business in several countries, you should consider filing applications in those countries.
Good luck with the creations of your mind and happy patenting!
Contact Marcos if you need any assistance in protecting your Intellectual Property(602) 317-0035
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