Types of Patents

There are three main types of patents applied for through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO"). These include the Utility Patent, the Design Patent and the Plant Patent. A fourth patent type is available, which is the Reissue Patent application, but this type of application is used to correct an error in an already issued patent.
Utility Patent:
A Utility Patent is issued for the invention of a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof. It permits its owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention for a period of up to twenty years from the patent application filing date.
Design Patent
A Design Patent is issued for a new, original, and ornamental design embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture. It permits its owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the design for a period of fourteen years from the date of patent grant.
Plant Patent
This office does not file Plant Patents.

A Plant Patent is issued for a new and distinct, invented or discovered asexually reproduced plant including cultivated spores, mutants, hybrids, and newly found seedlings, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. It permits its owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the plant for a period of up to twenty years from the date of patent application filing.
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