Hire a Patent Lawyer in Manhattan

Manhattan financial district skyline

Learn about the keys to hiring a reputable patent lawyer in Manhattan. If an individual, team, or company develops an invention, new product, or improvement to a product, seeking patent protection can be vital. In many scenarios, the fruits of an invention or product development can only be realized through patent protection. 

Typically, it is not recommended for a company to present ideas to the public without the necessary safeguards in place. Even if you see the value of hiring a patent lawyer, finding a reputable lawyer you can trust to protect your intellectual property with care and attention can be difficult. 

Patents, namely utility patents, are a form of intellectual property that protects a company’s inventions. A company’s materials can be stolen and potentially discredited without the necessary patent protection in place and submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by a patent lawyer in Manhattan, NY.

Some companies’ hard work and developments are left vulnerable to theft and misappropriation because they sat on their rights for too long. You’d be amazed at how frequently intellectual property and technologies are stolen. For this reason, it is imperative that a company does not release an invention into the public domain without first obtaining the necessary patent protection.

Learning the fundamentals of the patent procedure can assist a company in making good decisions early in the product development process, at least to an extent. Thus, it can be helpful to consult a patent attorney at the earliest stages of product development to learn the proper procedures for filing for patent protection. Patent procurement and protection is a highly complex subject that should be left to the guiding mind of a patent attorney in Manhattan, NY.

Typically, patentability rules under 35 USC 101 are broad enough to enable patent protection over almost any creative idea. However, it is important to recognize that not every invention or development can be patented. This high-level topic of patentability should be discussed with a patent attorney in Manhattan who is well-versed in the patent application procedure.

What Is a Utility Patent?

A utility patent protects the production of new or updated/improved machines, processes, or products. This can include chemical compositions, tangible objects, software, medical devices, and many other technical areas. A utility patent prevents other people or businesses from creating, selling, importing, or using the invention – in the United States – claimed in the issued patent without permission. When most people think about a patent, they are probably thinking about a utility patent. Foreign patent protection must be sought in order to enforce the patent in other jurisdictions; otherwise, a US patent only protects activities within the US and its territories. 

Utility patents can be extremely valuable because they grant innovators exclusive economic rights to produce and use cutting-edge technologies. Nonetheless, utility patents can be challenging to get allowed through the USPTO, at least relative to their design patent counterparts. Utility patents take significant effort to draft, and the overall process can be time-consuming and costly. For example, in addition to drafting and filing the patent application, the examination (or “prosecution”) process requires additional work and negotiations with the assigned patent examiner to get the application allowed. 

While the patent application is pending, the owner has no enforceable rights. A patent application is just that – an application for a patent, not a patent itself. While the Applicant or Assignee may have provisional patent rights under 35 USC 154(d), invocation of those rights still hinges on the patent application being allowed, among other requirements. 

What Is a Design Patent?

A design patent protects an invention’s distinct visual attributes; an item’s visual appearance. A design patent may be obtained if the product has a unique configuration, surface decoration, or both. A design patent, in other words, protects the decorative design of something that may or may not have a functional purpose. 

A design patent may be useful in a variety of circumstances. If a product with no functional or structural improvement and therefore a utility patent is unlikely possible under 35 USC 102 and 103, then a design patent is quite likely still available. So long as the company proprietarily designed the product’s unique appearance, or at least owns the rights to such novel design, then a design patent may be a viable option to secure at least some intellectual property protection. 

Similar to a utility patent, items protected by a design patent can enable a patent owner to prevent others from making a substantially similar design from creating, selling, importing, or using the invention in the US. Many foreign countries refer to design patents as design registrations because they utilize more of a “registration process” that is easier to get a design approved. However, the US still refers to design protections as design patents since a design application in the US goes through a relatively more rigorous examination than countries implementing a design registration system. Despite this difference from many foreign jurisdictions, design patent applications are still significantly easier to get allowed in the US relative to utility patents. 

What Is a Trademark?

A trademark is a different form of intellectual property protection from patents. A trademark is a recognized emblem, word, or symbol that denotes a certain product or source of goods or services and legally distinguishes it from other products or sources. 

Trademarks help legally distinguish among businesses and consumers. They are used to protect and identify language and design elements that identify the source, owner, or developer of a product or service. These can be company slogans or a product’s or product line’s brand name. A service mark, like a trademark, identifies and differentiates the source of a service rather than a product. The term trademark is sometimes used interchangeably to refer to both service marks and trademarks.

A trademark is a marking that distinguishes a product as belonging to a specific company and certifies that company’s ownership of the brand. While trademarks are a form of intellectual property that can be registered with the USPTO, it should be noted that a company possesses some common law trademark protections even without having a formal registration. A trademark lawyer in Manhattan can help draft, file, and procure your trademark registration with the USPTO. 

What Is a Copyright?

A copyright is another form of intellectual property protection for original works of authorship that are fixed in a specific mode or medium of expression. Both published and unpublished works are covered by copyright. A copyright can protect original works of authorship, architecture, computer software, songs, movies, novels, poetry, and other works. Musical literary, theatrical, and other creative works are also protectable via copyright registration. Although copyrights may protect the way ideas and concepts are expressed, it does not cover systems, ideas, methods, or facts.

From the moment the work is created, it is protected by copyright. Although it is typically recommended to file for copyright registration before asserting a case of copyright infringement in court. 

Original works are protected by copyright, whereas patents protect inventions and product developments. There is potential that a single development or project can leverage all three forms of intellectual property protection: patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Thus, it is important to consult an intellectual property attorney in Manhattan to properly assess a company’s rights. Let’s take the circumstances surrounding “Google(R),” for example. The name “Google”  can be a registered trademark since it identifies a source of goods and services; the famous color and appearance of Google can be copyrighted as an original work of authorship, and the search engine technology behind Google’s algorithm can be patented (among thousands of more technical developments created by Google).