Different Types of Patents

Different Types of Patents

Patent Types :: General

The United States Patent and Trademark Office grants a temporary monopoly on two basic types of patents: these are namely,

1- UTILITY patents

2- DESIGN patents

3- PLANT patents

4- REISSUE Patents



Finding out which patent type your invention belongs to is an important first step to take in protecting your concepts.  Typically, most people create something in the Utility or Design patent types so that is what we are going to discuss first.

Utility Patent vs Design Patent

The most common type of patent is known as a Utility Patent; however, many people jump full speed into obtaining a utility application without the proper understanding of the risks involved.  Whilst about 40% of patents are issued at some point or other in the prosecution these sometimes don’t have claims broad enough to make it worthdifferent_types_of_patents the while of the utility application.  A Design patent application on the other hand is inherently narrow from the beginning since it directly relates to how the item to which Letters Patent is sought ‘appears,’ rather then its broad conceptual gist of the invention found in a utility application.  Also, it is notoriously easier to obtain a design patent.  Thus, it may be worth your while to try to get a Design patent.  The following is a short review regarding the differences between a design patent and a utility patent.


What is a Utility Patent?

A utility patent application is filed so that you can receive letters patent on a novel article of manufacture, composition of matter, process, machine.  The utility patent would prevent another from making, using or selling the patented item or process up to twenty years from the date of the filing of the application.  The USPTO is almost primarily dedicated to issuing utility patents.

Utility Patent Cost

Depending on the nature and complexity of your invention patents vary widely in cost.  Additionally being located near major metropolitan or suburban areas tends to be higher than less highly sought after locations.  Costs between 3500 on the low end and 8-10k on the high end are common for patents ranging from the simple to the more complex.  This is just introduction pricing not including responses to patent examiner answers, allowance and maintenance fees (fees paid to the USPTO to keep the patent alive once it has been approved).


What is a design patent?

A design patent application is filed to acquire patent rights on a original, novel ornamentation embodied in or as it is applied to an article of manufacture; in other words the appearance of the particular item.  If granted the design patent prevents others from using, manufacturing or selling the design.  Currently, this right grants a patent holder a fifteen year monopoly on the production of the invention.

3- PLANT patents

Believe it or not you can receive a patent on certain types of plants if you can ‘create’ them so to speak.  If you have happened to discover a novel asexual plant then the USPTO will allow a patent thereon.  PlantsAsexually propagated plants are those that are reproduced by means other than from seeds, such as by the rooting of cuttings, by layering, budding, grafting, inarching, etc.

4- REISSUE Patents

Reissue patent are a type of patent that are disseminated by the US Patent Office.  The purpose of the reissue patent is to amend substantial errors that are within an already issued patent.  All types of patents including the aforementioned plant, design and utility patents can be the subject of a reissue patent. It should be understood that only the original patent holder can file this type of patent and it will not extend the patent term.

Finally, reissue patents can be issued for the purpose of increasing the scope of the claimed language that covers the metes and bounds of the actual patent property right.  However, in order to do a patent holder must make this request with at most two years from allowance.


A defensive publication is a document that is published by an author, inventor, company on a product, process or apparatus.  The purpose of the disclosure is to prevent another entity from obtaining patent rights on the disclosed ideas.  A complete enabling disclosure including any necessary drawings is disclosed thereby creating a body of prior art stopping others from receiving a patent.