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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between process patents and utility patents?

Process patents and utility patents are two different types of patents that serve distinct purposes. Process patents, as the name suggests, are patents that protect a specific method or process. These patents are particularly significant in the Internet economy, with numerous hardware, software, and Internet inventions and processes being patented throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Business method patents, a subset of process patents, grant the owner exclusive economic use and licensing rights for the process for approximately 17 years. These patents can be essential for an entire business model, especially in the digital age. On the other hand, utility patents are a broader category under which process patents fall. Utility patents are meant to grant exclusive rights to the owner for a particular business or mechanical process. The process of obtaining a utility patent begins when an idea becomes unique and definitive enough to materialize into an invention that is patentable. This involves conducting a patent search to determine if the idea is new and patentable, filing an initial provisional application, and then filing a non-provisional application to begin the formal process of the USPTO's examination process.

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