Acquiring a patent for your invention is like protecting your patent from any form of malpractices. Exclusive rights are given to the inventor that help to protect the invention.
These exclusive rights are granted for a limited period. However to get a patent your invention must be inventive, new and useful. Every country has its own methods and criteria for issuing patents.
You cannot get a patent unless your invention is something constructive. It must also be new. A mere idea or a suggestion cannot give you a patent. Methods of doing printed matter or business cannot be patented. A person desiring a patent for his or her invention should be confident that the invention will be useful for others. Many inventors after getting a patent ask the question that how long does a patent last. This article will give information to those who have no knowledge about how long does a patent last.
How long does a patent last will depend on the type of patent. A patent can either be a utility patent or a design patent. Utility patents are given more time duration than design patent. Utility patents protect any new functional improvements or invention on existing inventions.
The existing invention can be a composition, machine, product or even a process. For example if you want to invent a better carburetor or a new recipe then you would require a utility patent. Generally utility patents are given a duration of 20 years. In case of utility patents the duration is calculated from the day you file the patent application.
14 years are granted for design patent. In case of design patents the duration is calculated from the day your patent is granted. Design patent protect the configuration, ornamental design, shape or form of an invention or improved decorative appearance. If you want to change an existing product in style then you will have to apply for a design patent.
Duration can be extended under exceptional situations. After the duration of the patent expires, the person who owns the inventions loses the right of excluding others from utilizing his or her invention. That means anyone can now use the invention without taking any permission from the patent holder. It is must to get a patent for an invention to protect it from malicious intentions.
But if anyone tries to use the invention before the patent expires, then the patent holder can take legal action against that person. During this period copying any form such as photocopy, electronic, mechanical is strictly prohibited. Any other person also cannot sell or import the invention. Patents have played a very important role in curbing such mal practices.
Typically patent owners can seek monetary compensation to those who violate patent laws before the patent expiry period. Once the patent period becomes invalid, you cannot simply do anything against these infringers.
In most countries, individuals as well as corporate companies are granted patents.