Client Questions

What is a patent?

A patent is a document issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office that protects an invention from being made, sold, or used by other entities for a period of time dependent upon the type of patent obtained.

What are the types of patent applications?

Plant applications seek to protect a new variety of asexually produced plant. Design applications contain drawings of the subject matter or process seeking to be patented and attempt to protect the ornamental appearance of the subject of the design application. Provisional applications are a precursor to utility applications and must be converted into an utility application within one year. Utility applications are the most common type of patent application and include a list of claims. At the Damon R. Hickman Law Firm, we focus on design, provisional, and utility patent applications.

How do I obtain a patent?

A United States patent is obtained by filing a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The United States Patent and Trademark Office examines the patent application. Typically a skilled and knowledgeable attorney employed by you will advocate on your behalf for a grant of a patent covering your invention from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A utility patent application includes a written description of the invention, a series of black and white drawings, and a set of claims.

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Who needs a patent?

Companies and solo entrepreneurs spend a vast amount of time and money on developing new products and methods to generate wealth. In order to protect the viability of their products, companies and entrepreneurs need patents to prevent others from making, using, and selling their new products or utilizing their new methods. Patents provide companies and solo entrepreneurs the right to stop others from copying their patented products or processes with an an injunction and collect damages from the unauthorized use of the patented product or process.

Who owns a patent?

A patent may be owned by an individual, a group of individuals, or a company. Companies utilize assignments to transfer ownership of patents and other intellectual property from inventors to companies. Assigned patents can be bought, sold, or transferred like other forms of property.

What filing fees are charged by the USPTO?

A filing fee is the amount charged to an entrepreneur by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to review and examine a patent application in order to determine whether a patent should be granted or denied. The United States Patent and Trademark Office bases the official filing fees upon the type of application filed and the size of the entity applying for the patent.

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What about international protection?

Typically our clients file for patent protection in the United States before seeking international protection. Once we have filed in the United States we strategize with our clients and develop a plan to protect our client’s inventions outside the United States. Some of the factors we incorporate into the plan include: budget of the client; does the client know which countries protection is needed; the number of countries protection is needed in; current legal climate of the other countries; and so forth. Once the plan is devised, we then file the appropriate applications to protect our clients inventions outside the United States.

How long does the patent process take?

At the Damon R. Hickman Law Firm we realize that time is of the essence in regards to protecting your invention. Our firm works quickly to file your patent application so as to protect our clients’ property. Typically, the amount of time to obtain a patent is directly related to what invention is being patented.

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