What Rights Do I Get by Obtaining a Patent for My Invention?

A patent gives its owner the exclusive right to make, use, offer to sell, sell, or import, a specified inven­tion in the United States, for a limited time.  If you invent something, you can obtain a patent by filing an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office describing your invention. 

The Patent Office will decide if your invention is eligible for patenting – it must be a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, and satisfy other requirements specified in the law.  If the Patent Office grants your application and issues a patent, the patent will be valid for 20 years from the date you filed the application.

If someone else makes, uses, offers to sell, sells, or imports your patented invention in the United States without your authorization – called “infringement” – you can enforce your patent in court.  You can obtain monetary compensation for the unauthorized use of your invention, or a court order that prohibits the other person from continuing to use your invention. 

If someone makes your patented invention overseas and imports it into the United States, you can obtain an order from the United States International Trade Commission prohibiting those imports. 

Patents are property rights.  You can sell your patent to someone else.  You can also license your patent to someone else – authorizing that person to use your invention, but keeping ownership of the patent itself.  A license can be either exclusive, allowing only one person to use the patented invention, or non-exclusive, allowing many people to use the patented invention.

A product can be covered by multiple patents.  For example, you can obtain a patent on an improvement to someone else’s patented invention.  In that case, making, using, selling, or importing that product requires a license for all the relevant patents. 

Patented inventions may be subject to other applicable laws.  For example, you may receive a patent on a new medical device, but you must still obtain approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration to sell that device. 

To learn more about intellectual property, go to www.mololamken.com and follow us on LinkedIn.  “Brilliant lawyers with courtroom savvy” – Benchmark Litigation.  Copyright MoloLamken LLP 2021.

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