Companies or individuals acquire patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, when they want to prevent rivals from copying or using their unique inventions. A patent is a method of claiming ownership according to business law. It enables you to successfully go to court to keep others from using your invention. Patent registration is a complex process, though, and you may find it necessary to hire a registered patent agent to assist you.

What Can Be Patented

According to business law, inventions that can be patented must be new, useful, and fall into one of three categories: utility patent, design patent, or plant patent. Utility patents are given to those who discover or invent machines, manufactured items, methods of doing something, or compositions of matter such as chemicals or drugs. Design patents are for those who invent an original and not obvious design for an already existing article of manufacture. Plant patents are for people who invent new varieties of plants. You can’t patent things that already exist, are already on sale, are otherwise available to the public, or have already been patented by someone else.

Qualifications of a Registered Patent Agent

It’s not necessary for an individual to be an attorney to become a registered patent agent. However, candidates who want to be patent agents must sit for an examination administered by the USPTO. Additionally, they must prove that they have a scientific education that includes a Bachelor’s degree in engineering or science.

What a Patent Agent Does

Recent changes in patent law make it desirable to employ a patent agent if you want to safeguard your invention. The America Invents Act, which took effect in 2013, states that the first person to file for a patent is the one who receives it rather than the first person who actually comes up with the invention. For this reason, speed becomes a crucial factor in applying for a patent. A registered patent agent can help you expedite the patent process, which is particularly important if others are working on your idea at the same time.

For more advice on patents and other aspects of business law, contact Purevue Capital.