Utility patents may protect some of your ideas, namely, those that are new, have utility, and are not obvious improvements of existing technology.
The USA usually gives priority to inventors who are the first to invent something and Canada gives priority to inventors who are first to file for protection in Canada or who have an earlier priority date.
Utility patents cover the technical (non-aesthetic) portions of inventions that have utility. At the time of invention (and there are all kinds of rules about this) there must be something new about the invention that makes using it advantageous over what has been previously invented ("prior art.")
There are all kinds of rules that define exactly what is a new and useful patentable invention. After a patent search has been reviewed, in the field of technology concerned, a patent attorney can usually tell you whether your invention is in fact patentable.
Some inventors may spend their limited resources on filing
for either a regular patent application or a provisional patent
application. Ultimately, a patent examiner at the USPTO decides whether
is entitled to a patent. The procedure of applying for a patent is
in the USPTO's Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) and Canada's
of Patent Office Practice (MOPOP.)
An applicant for a patent who does not appear to reside or carry on business at a specified address in Canada shall, on the filing date of the application, appoint as a representative a person or firm residing or carrying on business at a specified address in Canada.
USA inventors may file USA provisional patent applications as
cheap way to preserve rights they may have in inventions, for up to one
provisional patent applications give inventors up to one year to decide
their invention is worth serious money and one year may buy the
enough time to get an investor. However, great care must be taken in
and describing the invention in these provisional applications, because
inventor must base their later filed regular patent application solely
the written description of the provisional application. No new matter
Business Method Patents
The patent laws provide for the granting of design patents to any person who has invented any new and nonobvious ornamental design for an article of manufacture. The design patent protects only the appearance of an article, but not its structural or functional features. The proceedings relating to granting of design patents are the same as those relating to other patents with a few differences. See current fee schedule for the filing fee for a design application. A design patent has a term of 14 years from grant, and no fees are necessary to maintain a design patent in force. If on examination it is determined that an applicant is entitled to a design patent under the law, a notice of allowance will be sent to the applicant or applicant's attorney, or agent, calling for the payment of an issue fee.
DaimlerChrysler Corporation was issued the 500,000th US design patent. It was for their Crossfire Convertible's body design.
"The presentation of the 500,000th design patent is truly a historic event," said U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. "U.S. automobiles have long been known for their forward looking designs and the Chrysler Crossfire provides one excellent example of this."
Design patents are granted for new, original, or ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. They are intended to give encouragement to the decorative arts and promote commerce by giving designers an incentive to make their products more aesthetically appealing to consumers. The first design patent was issued in 1842 to George Bruce of New York City for printing types. US Design patents provide exclusive rights to their owners for a term of 14 years from the date of issuance. Over 16,500 design patents were issued in fiscal year 2004.
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