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Common Misconceptions About Patents

Law Office of Mitchell Ghaneie, P.A. June 8, 2022

Professional carpenter working with surface planerFlorida is frequently among the top ten states in the country for the number of patents awarded, but not everyone fully understands what it means to hold a patent or what rights and responsibilities accompany it—even patent holders themselves. In 2020, there were 167 patents granted in Jacksonville, Florida alone, and each of these inventors needs to be aware of the patent process and how to protect their property after the patent has been awarded. For answers to your questions about patents or protecting intellectual property, reach out to me at the Law Office of Mitchell Ghaneie, P.A. From my office in Jacksonville, Florida, I am proud to serve clients throughout the area, including St. Augustine and the rest of the state. 

What Are Patents?

Patents are property rights for inventions awarded by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and are granted to the inventor. There are three main types of patents: utility, design, and plant. A utility patent applies to new processes, machines, manufacturing practices, or compositions of matter. A design patent covers new and original ornamental designs. Finally, a plant patent is for those who invent or discover and reproduce a new variety of plant. Patents are only issued for a set period of time (usually 20 years) and protect the invention from others making use of, manufacturing, or profiting from it. 

Seven Common Myths About Patents 

Myth #1:  I Need to Build it Before I Patent It

To apply for a patent, you need only to have designed and described your invention. Your invention must be described in clear enough detail that someone within your industry would be able to construct it. Many people falsely assume that they need to build and implement their design before beginning the application process, but this can waste precious time and a competitor may beat you to the punch if they’re first to file.

Myth #2:  My Patent Must Match Exactly What I Have Designed

A well-written patent will not only lay out the framework for the invention, but will also include variations that can be done within these original designs. Therefore, you can actually build a product that follows your patent design but also leaves open other embodiments that are within the scope of the patent. This allows for future variations that will still be protected under your patent.

Myth #3: I Can Keep My Invention Secret & Still Obtain a Patent

This is one of the most commonly held patent misconceptions. When you’re awarded a patent, you exchange this protection for making your invention public knowledge. The USPTO will publish your patent and a description of the invention for anyone to access. This step actually helps protect your property and ensures others don’t attempt to infringe on an existing patent. 

Myth #4: After Getting a Patent, I Am Guaranteed to Produce & Sell My Product

Wrong. A patent is only a legal protection for the design of your innovation and is not connected to sales or market demand. A patent may make your product more appealing to customers and investors and you may be able to use this information in your marketing, but the patent itself in no way generates money.

Myth #5: Patents Protect My Invention Worldwide

A patent issued by the USPTO only protects your property in the United States, and there is currently no worldwide patent available. You can apply for patents in other countries, and there are some international agreements that protect your patent across country lines such as the European Patent or the PCT that allow you to file one application and then choose the countries you want it to apply to. 

Myth #6: Ideas Themselves Can Be Patented

Ideas in and of themselves cannot be patented. Only concrete processes, methods, products, or compositions can be patented. One larger idea could spur on several patents if each has its own unique process, but general concepts cannot be patented. 

Myth #7: Patents Are Only Helpful in a Legal Sense

While it’s true that patents protect your innovations and intellectual property in a legal sense, this is not the only way they can be helpful. If you’ve been awarded multiple patents, you’re likely to attract more investors as well as customers who view patents as an indicator that you’re at the top of your industry. 

How A Patent Attorney Can Help Your Business

If you’d like to speak to a patent attorney who can help you understand patents, including how to apply for one or defend against patent infringement, call me today. At the Law Office of Mitchell Ghaneie, P.A. you’ll get experienced guidance from an attorney who focuses solely on patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property. I’m proud to serve the entire northeast Florida area from my office in Jacksonville, Florida. Reach out today to set up a consultation.