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Frequently Asked Questions

What are utility patents?

Utility patents are one of the three types of patent protection recognized in the United States, alongside design patents and plant patents. They cover a broad range of inventions including machines, processes, manufactured articles, matter compositions, and improvements. The purpose of a utility patent is to protect the functional aspects of an invention, ensuring that the inventor has exclusive rights to their creation. These rights can be licensed, bought, and sold. The United States used to prioritize the first inventor of a new invention, but now the priority is given to the first person to file a patent application for an invention. To be eligible for a utility patent, the invention must meet certain criteria. It must be useful, providing some functional benefit. It must be novel, meaning no one else has already patented a similar invention. It must also be non-obvious, meaning that a person with typical skill in the relevant industry would not already know about the idea.

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