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Understanding Patents & Patent Licensing Options

BY Rebecca | 20 November, 2015 | no comments

So, you have an idea that you think would make a fantastic invention, now what do you do? Before you take that idea to market and develop the invention further, it is always wise to apply for a patent. This gives you protection and allows you to continue to develop the idea without having to worry about others using it for their own purposes. How do you apply for a patent and how can you use patent licensing to your advantage?

It is possible for you to apply for a patent on your own but it can be complicated and if it is not done properly, it may be rejected. That is why it is often recommended that an attorney or other service is hired which can help to walk you through the process. That would include searching through existing patents through publically available databases and websites to ensure that it does not already exist. This process of conducting a thorough patent search is critical, as a UK-based product design consultancy states, “A patent search helps to establish how original, and therefore how patentable, your idea is, and in what ways.”

Identifying the Types of Patents

Patent application processes vary from country to country. For example the United States, there are 3 different types of patents and you need to choose the one that is going to be right for your idea or new invention. A utility patent is the most common and it refers to an invention that is specific to a function. Design patents, on the other hand, are specific to parts of the overall design. A plant patent is the one that is used less frequently, as it is given for reproducible plants.

Once you have identified the type of patent and done your research on the patent office website, you can file your patent in order to get the protection it offers. This can either be done on the website, as well as through traditional mail or by faxing the application. No email option is currently available.

According to, in China, there are two types of patents, invention patents and utility model patents, and “when applying for a patent, entrepreneurs and inventors must note what type of patent they are applying for.”

This may seem like a relatively easy process but the fact of the matter is, it may take years before your patent is granted. Get the help that is necessary to ensure that you fill out the application properly and make all of the right decisions. It will make a difference in how things go for you.

Using Patent Licensing

If you ultimately are successful and have been granted a patent, a good next step is to take advantage of patent licensing. The two different types of patent licensing agreements. They are generally referred to as exclusive and nonexclusive agreements. The distinction between the type of patent licensing chosen is a significant one as International law firm Taylor Wessing explains by writing, “When granting or receiving a licence under intellectual property rights, the parties need to consider at the earliest stage the degree of exclusivity that will be granted.”

Applying for a patent and taking advantage of any licensing that would benefit you will offer you protection and allow you to continue to develop your idea. The patent laws are in place to protect you in this way and to promote the development of new inventions. Make sure that you are taking advantage of what they have to offer.


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