Patent rights (if granted) generally last for 20 years from the date a patent application is filed and, unlike copyrights, patent rights must be awarded by a national organization such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
There are three types of patents in the United States:
– Utility patents cover new and useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, or compositions of matter. They also include improvements to existing processes, machines, articles of manufacture, or compositions of matter.
– Design patents cover new, original, and ornamental designs for an article of manufacture.
– Plant patents cover new plant varieties.
Applying for patent protection before publishing research is ideal. Public disclosure can inhibit the ability to patent an invention. It is always best to contact the TTIC before publishing in order to determine if a patent application should be filed in advance of publication.