Patent Information

Patent attorneys are unique in that they must have technical degrees as well as legal degrees. To be allowed to sit for the patent bar exam, one must have a technical degree (such as engineering, medicine or science) or the equivalent education and experience.

Patent protection varies between products, inventions and discoveries and it is beneficial to engage the services of a qualified, registered patent attorney, who can gauge the scope of protection one might have with a new or improved product and ascertain whether another’s rights might be infringed upon by making, selling or using that product.

What is a patent? All US patents are legal documents, issued by the federal government, which grant their owners a legally enforceable right to prevent others from making, using or selling the invention claimed by the patent during its term. There are, however, various types of patents. As a property right, patents may be sold, licensed, inherited and mortgaged.

How is patent protection obtained? Patent protection is not enforceable until a patent is actually issued. To obtain a patent, an application meeting statutory requirements must be filed and prosecuted before the United States Patent and Trademark Office as explained on

Generally speaking, US patent protection is the only method by which one can exclude all others in the United States from making, using or selling the subject matter which makes up the claimed invention. Patent applications have been described by courts as the most difficult legal documents to draft.

They must adhere to strict technical and legal regulations to be valid and enforceable and, at the same time, include an exhaustive description to provide adequate protection.


Utility patents: Protect structural or functional characteristics of a product
Design patents: Protect ornamental, not structural or functional, characteristics of a product

UTILITY PATENTS comprise the bulk of patents issued. A utility patent has a term of 20 years from the filing date of the patent application after the patent has been issued. The application for a utility patent is a detailed written description of the invention’s structure and function, accompanied by mandatory patent-quality drawings, and you can find more about it on too.

DESIGN PATENTS are typically sought for jewelry, toys, figurines and articles having a unique look apart from their structural design. For instance, shoe companies obtain design patents to protect the ornamental features of their shoes, including the soles. Design patents are not as popular as utility patents since they have limited application and are considered easier to design around since they protect only ornamental features rather than structure or function. However, design patents are useful and important for certain businesses and products.

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