The Benefits of Patent Protection for Startups

Patent protection in today’s business landscape is imperative. Patents play an integral part in protecting an invention—from the exterior aesthetics to the internal technology. Having a patent for your invention will protect it from copycats and the exclusive rights provide you with a stronger market position and distinct business advantages.

Types of Patents Available (Domestic and International)

Domestic Patent Protection

A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions. There are three types of patents: utility, design and plant patents.

  1. Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;
  2. Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
  3. Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

“A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees.” (USPTO)

International Patent Protection

In terms of the international patent system, there is the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The PCT assists applicants in seeking patent protection internationally for their inventions, helps patent offices with their patent granting decisions, and facilitates public access to a wealth of technical information relating to those inventions. (WIPO)

By filing one international patent application under the PCT, applicants can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in a large number of countries (currently 153 countries).

How does a Design Patent work?

Design patents focus on the exterior design, features and overall aesthetics of the product. It is important to note that design patents extend to what is exactly shown in the line drawings, nothing more. For this reason, some products may require multiple design patents. Each design patent would cover a specific physical feature of the product. For example, a car would require multiple design patents because of the size and scope of the invention.

Having high-quality professional line drawings by a CAD designer is extremely advantageous. With a design patent, you are able to use the coveted phrases, patent pending and patent issued on all marketing material, and have confidence that your invention is protected for the next fourteen years. Also, when it comes to cost, design patents are considerably cheaper to file than utility patents.

What are the benefits of a Utility Patent?

Utility patents focus solely on the inner workings of your invention, its unique functions and overall usefulness. While a utility patent is harder to get than a design patent, it offers better coverage because of the protections built into the patent system. An invention is deemed useful if it provides an identifiable benefit and is capable of use. People often refer to utility patents as “patents for invention”.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, 90% of the patent documents issued by the USPTO in recent years have been utility patents.

With a utility patent your invention will be protected for the next twenty years. (USPTO)

It is important to understand that although you file a utility patent application, there is no guarantee it will be issued. Examiners will review your application and look for prior patents that may conflict with what you are claiming. However, once you are granted a patent, you then have all rights to the invention and can enforce any infringement upon it.

What exactly is the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?

The PCT is an international treaty with currently 153 countries participating. The PCT is frequently used by major corporations, research institutions, universities, small businesses, and inventors.

The PCT makes it possible to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in a large number of countries by filing a single “international” patent application instead of filing several separate national or regional patent applications. The granting of patents remains under the control of the national or regional patent Offices in what is called the “national phase”.

You can file an international patent application with your national patent Office, or directly with WIPO if permitted by your State’s national security provisions. Learn more on the WIPO website.

Patent Facts & Figures | 3D Innovations

Our team has assisted entrepreneurs and businesses in obtaining:
  • 52 Design Patents.
  • 19 Utility Patents. An additional 4 are currently pending approval.
  • 2 PCT Patents. An additional 2 are currently pending approval.
Of the 52 Design Patents…
  • 75% have been for a consumer product.
  • The additional industries include: baby product, construction, exercise, marine, medical, outdoor and scientific.
Of the 19 Utility Patents…
  • 44% have been for a consumer product.
  • 27% have been in the aerospace industry.
  • The additional industries include: automotive, electronic (IOT) and marine.

Patent protection is important for your invention and startup.

In today’s globalized world, patent protection is critical. Taking the time now to develop a high quality patent will set your business up for future success.


3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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July 2024

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