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What do utility patents protect?
Utility patents protect the invention of functional objects and processes - including machines, methods, chemical compositions and more. To qualify, the invention must serve a purpose and be new, useful, and non-obvious. You can file a utility patent application by submitting a description of how to make and use the invention, defining claims, and drawings.
Once granted, the utility patent protects anyone else from making, using, selling, or importing your invention for twenty years.
- Recognition and prestige as the original inventor
- Control of licensing or selling your patent
- Confidence that your invention will not be stolen during negotiations with manufacturers
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To be protected by a utility patent, an invention must fall into one of these categories:
Process or method for producing a useful, concrete, and tangible result – like a procedure, strategy, process, software
Machine – typically a device with moving parts or circuitry
Article of manufacture – a manufactured item
Composition of matter – original, synthetic chemical or genetic composition
Improvement of an invention that fits within one of the first four categories
Yes. Patents can be obtained on software embodied by a physical object, such as a computer system. As long as the physical system creates a useful, concrete, tangible result, the software inside qualifies as patentable.
Although no timeline can be guaranteed, the average utility patent is granted in 24 - 36 months. However, because the rule is "first to file", an issued patent starts to protect your invention the day it was filed.
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Utility Patents protect useful and novel machine, process, manufactured item or composition of matter. Here are a few examples:
A bike (machine)
Cleaning supply composition