Different Types of Patents Explained

Patents are legal protections granted by the government, which give inventors the right to exclude any other person from making, using, selling, or importing an invention without their permission. Let’s see what are the different types of patents? There are several types of patents that can be issued, each with its own specific protections and durations.

Utility Patents

Utility patents are the most common and generally the first to come to mind when discussing patents. They protect the creation of new and useful processes, machines, manufactures, or compositions of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.

Key features:

Must be proven useful, novel, and not obvious to those skilled in the art/field

Typically last for 20 years from the date of filing, with maintenance fees due throughout this time.

Design Patents

Design patents are assigned to new, original, and ornamental designs for an article of manufacture. Unlike utility patents, design patents only protect the appearance of the article, not its structure or utilitarian features.

Key characteristics:

Usually valid for 15 years from the date of grant for patents filed.

No maintenance fees are required.

Plant Patents

Plant patents are a unique type of patent that protects a new and distinct, invented or discovered, asexually reproduced plant variety.

Key details

Protection extends to the plant and its seeds.

The inventor can prevent others from reproducing, selling, or using the plant for up to 20 years from the date of filing.

Provisional Patents

Provisional patents are not actual patents, but rather an “early bird” application that allows an inventor to establish an early effective filing date in a non-provisional patent application.

Major considerations

Filed with a simpler, less-formal patent document and lower fee.

Does not provide the protection of a utility patent, but gives the inventor a year to develop the idea further or assess the commercial potential.

There are professional invention assistance companies, like InventHelp, that can help you with the patent process. InventHelp has successfully helped clients across the United States to file their patents and market their products.

How do I license my invention idea? InventHelp can help you find companies that are interested in licensing your product. They have over 30 years’ experience helping independent inventors get their products to market, and they have an extensive network of contacts with manufacturers, retailers, and distributors. InventHelp can also help you to create a business plan for your invention so that you know how best to use it.


In conclusion, when considering a patent, it becomes crucial to identify what type you’re looking for. The different types of patents have unique requirements and durations of protection. Always consult with a patent attorney or agent to ensure you’re pursuing the best strategy for your situation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *