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What is a Patent?

According to, “[a] patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor. Patents are granted for new, useful and non-obvious inventions for a period of 20 years from the filing date of a patent application, and provide the right to exclude others from exploiting the invention during that period.  U.S. patents are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.” What is a Patent? There are generally three types of patents:

  • Utility Patents – Patents issued for “any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof”
  • Design Patents – Patents issued for “any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture”
  • Plant Patents – Patents granted to “anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.”


To be eligible for patent protection the invention, design or discovery must be “useful” and must not be known or used in this or any other country or described in any printed publication. Even if the patent is sought for something different from something already in existence, a patent may be denied if the differences from the existing material would be obvious. Because obtaining a patent requires a knowledge of patent laws and the rules and procedures of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”), as well as the technical and scientific knowledge of the matter sought to be patented, the PTO “strongly recommends that applicants obtain the services of a patent attorney or agent.

If you have an invention or idea you believe may be the subject of patent protection, you need the services of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. With a background in physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics, Michael Leonard, Esq. of San Diego Corporate Law is the attorney you can trust to assist you with understanding the patent laws and how they apply to your invention. To schedule a consultation with Mr. Leonard to discuss your patent needs, or any other business-related matter, you can contact him by visiting San Diego Corporate Law or by telephone at (858) 483-9200.

Do you need help with patents?


Schedule a Consultation: 858.483.9200