Types of Patents

There are several different types of patents, and each type applies to a specific class of invention, has specific requirements for filing that type of patent application, and offers a specific duration of protection.

Utility Patent

Most patents that are applied for and granted are utility patents. Utility patents are granted for inventions that are useful, new, and nonobvious. The invention must be directed to a process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, and must also be novel and nonobvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art in order to be patentable. Utility patents offer protection for a period of 20 years from the application filing date.

Design Patents

A patent can be obtained on a specific design of something if the design is new and original. The design must be ornamental in nature, non-functional, and must be on a manufactured device. Design patents issued on applications filed on or after May 13, 2015 offer protection for a period of 15 years from issuance, while those filed on applications filed before May 13, 2015 offer protection for a period of 14 years.

Plant Patents

Under 35 USC 161, it is possible to obtain patent protection on a new type of plant. The plant must asexually reproduce and must be a distinct and new variety. Tuber propagated plants or plants that are found in an uncultivated state are excluded from patentability. In order to apply for a plant patent, an applicant must provide a complete description of the new plant and may provide a color photograph if coloring is relevant to the novelty of the plant. Plant patents offer protection for a period of 20 years from the application filing date.

Want To Apply For A Patent?

For each type of patent, there are specific requirements that must be satisfied when applying, as discussed above. Additionally, prosecution with the U.S. Patent Office associated with each type of patent is specific to the type of patent being sought. A patent attorney is familiar with patent prosecution before the Patent Office, and can help you apply for the protection you need.

If you have questions about what type of patent is appropriate for your invention, please contact Parsons & Goltry online, or by calling 480-991-3435.

Client Approved


"Our company has worked with a number of patent attorneys and were so pleased when we began working with Parsons & Goltry nearly a decade ago. Mike Goltry's knowledge and attention to detail has enabled us to have numerous products patented and trademarks registered. We highly recommend this Law Firm."

- Sharon K.


"Michael Goltry is the most professional, honest and effective patent attorney whom I ever met in my 40 year professional engineering career. I started to work with him over 20 years ago and plan to work indefinitely."

- Zoltan Kemeny, PhD, Struct. Eng.


"Mr. Goltry took a provisional patent that we'd filed ourselves, and quickly and professionally turned our innovation into U.S. and foreign applications. His [patent claims] were a thing of beauty, and I was amazed by how deftly he countered the inevitable office actions. His language held up, and the U.S. Patent just issued. He was easy and efficient to work with, and his fees were remarkably reasonable. We're not planning to go anywhere else, ever."

- Ski Milburn, CEO, Victori, LLC


"I applied for a patent through Parsons & Goltry. After being on the docket for 2 years at the USPTO, I received notification that my patent request had been denied. Michael Goltry contacted me immediately to review my options. After I informed him of my decision to move forward, he filed a response to the USPTO. In his response he got the examiner to fully understand the claims in the patent application and the "denied" decision was reversed. I was able to secure and receive a "patent granted" decision. Thank you, Michael Goltry."

- Kathy H., Inventor


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