Frequently Asked Patent Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Patents

What is a patent?
What are the different types of patents?
Why obtain a patent?
When is it not right to patent?
What is patentable?
Do I have to get a patent?
How do I get a patent?
What if I know my idea isn’t patentable?
Does my idea have to be “good”?
If I can’t afford a patent, can I just sell my idea?
How do I protect my idea outside the United States?
How close can an invention be to mine before it is infringed?
What is a design patent?
What kinds of designs qualify for design patent protection?
What is a utility patent?
What qualifies for Utility Patent Protection?
What is a plant patent?
What is a Provisional Patent Application?
What does “Patent Pending” or “Pat. Pend.” mean?
Do I need a patent even though I can prove I was the first to invent?
If I want to keep an inventor’s log book, what should be in it?
How long after the invention is developed do I have to file for a patent?
Who should be listed as inventors?
What if I am an employee and have an idea?
What if I am employer and have employees who might invent something?
What is the difference between a patent attorney and a patent agent?