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There are three primary types of patents that people and businesses might apply for: (1) utility patents, (2) design patents and (3) plant patents. This article will describe these three patents briefly so you can decide which kind of patent might be correct for your needs.

Utility patents: These are the most common variety of patents. They cover compositions of matter, processes, manufactured items and machines that are both useful and new in concept. Utility patents may also be awarded for improvements on existing designs that are new and useful.

Design patents: These kinds of patents relate to surface ornamentation. This might mean the specific configuration or shape of an object. For this patent to be awarded, the design cannot be separated from the object. However, in this case, only the design or appearance will be protected by the patent — not the objects structural or functional features.

Plant patents: These relate to newly created and special plants. Plant patents do not cover potatoes or tuber propagated plants, nor do they cover uncultivated plants. Also, plants covered must have the capacity for asexual reproduction. This means that they are reproduced through grafting or planting and not by seed. The patent applicant must show proof that he or she can reproduce the plant.

Do you need a patent for one of you or your business’s creations? It may be time to protect your intellectual property rights by filing for a patent. You patent will protect your invention and prevent other companies and businesses from copying and stealing your idea for their own profit and gain.

Source: FindLaw, “Types of Patents,” accessed Sep. 08, 2017