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Examples of the 3 types of patents

Having a patent on an invention or idea is important when a company or individual inventor wants to protect his or her right to make money off of the invention or idea. The patent will prevent competitors from stealing the idea and making money on it themselves. It will also protect the patent-holder's right to receive royalty payments for the use of the invention.

It's important to note, however, that not all patents are the same. In fact, there are three types of patents: utility patents, design patents and plant patents. Let's take a look at an example of each of these:

  • Utility patents: Imagine you create a machine, chemical or special process that is used for a specific purpose. If you can get a utility patent on this invention or concept, you can prevent others from using and making money off of it.
  • Design patent: These kinds of patents relate to the unique shape or appearance of an item. Maybe you designed a new kind of coffee mug that is entirely unique and no coffee mug has ever looked like it before. You might be able to get a design patent.
  • Plant patents: These relate to plants, fruits and other agricultural products. Farms and agricultural researchers are often cultivating new species of fruits, vegetables and other plans. Maybe, for example, a farmer cultivates a bigger and tastier strawberry. Sometimes, these new plants have great money-making potential, and patents can protect competitors from using the same plant in their business pursuits.

Do you have something to patent? Learn more about your intellectual property rights to determine if you can get a patent on your idea or invention.

Source: FindLaw, "Intellectual Property," accessed Jan. 5, 2018

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