You have most likely heard of a patent. It is a common term that many people know, but don’t quite fully understand much about them. Patents are interesting pieces of intellectual property that have distinct terms and some interesting facts.
What exactly is a patent?
As defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There are three different kinds of patent, utility, design and plant, with the utility patent being the most common.
Patent Facts to Know
A patent only lasts for a period of time. The utility patent doesn’t expire for 20 years, where a design patent is only good for 14 years.
Once a patent expires, the invention is freely available to the public, meaning someone can go get a new patent on the invention once the old one’s terms are over.
What does patent pending me? You probably have seen it on a lot of products, the patent pending stamp. This means an application has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and it is currently being examined. Since the patent hasn’t officially been issued, no rights exist for the product. It is actually illegal to use the patent pending stamp if there really isn’t a patent pending or if the patent was denied.
Unusual Patent Facts
Not all facts about patents are uninteresting. Did you know that we don’t really know who invented the fire hydrant because the patent was actually destroyed in a fire? WD-40 is a popular product, but it is not patent protected. The company doesn’t disclose ingredients to prevent it from being duplicated. Ben Franklin was known for a number of inventions, but he refused to ever get them a patent. Abraham Lincoln is the only President to receive a patent while in office. In 1849, honest Abe designed a device to lift boats off of sand bars.
Are you looking for more information on patents because you are contemplating applying for one? It is a good idea to talk with a trusted and knowledgeable Phoenix patent attorney for guidance.