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Types of Patents Granted by the USPTO

Inventions may qualify for a utility, a design or a plant patent as set out by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This article attempts to provide you with an overview on each of these patent types.

Examples of utility based inventions are everywhere. Most mechanical objects fit under this category. A rocket engine, paperclip and a new drug are all examples of utility based inventions. The variety between these objects is vast, but they all fit under the same category; those with utility.

Design patents are those that incorporate a design into an object of manufacture. A good example is a new design for a headboard.

As you can guess, plant patents are those covering new plant varieties. But there are some stipulations with plant patents. Plants that have been bred are acceptable, while plants growing naturally in the wild will never qualify. Oddly enough, plants that are sexually reproduced also never qualify. Only those that are asexually reproduced (i.e., they are reproduced by making a cutting, layering, grafting or inarching) qualify for a patent.

Copyright © 2005 Lisa Parmley – Registered Patent Agent
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