A patent serves as a temporary, total monopoly over the design or function of a product. Many things can be patented including physical products, specific component parts, or digital assets such as algorithms or programs. Patents serve as a means to allow the creator of something to profit from their creation while balancing the need to allow new technologies to spread to enhance innovation.
The cost of a patent varies on the methodology of application, type of patent, and whether there are appeals or analysis to be conducted. The cost of filing a patent can quickly balloon from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
In order to register a patent, an application must be filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application must include a number of criteria and must also be a distinct object that is not already protected by patent. This means that in addition to application fees, there are often research fees to ensure that the patent being sought will not be denied.
In general, a patent can last for up to 20 years. After a patent expires it can be renewed but it must be done quickly or someone else can swoop in and take possession of the patent.
If you need to register a patent and want to ensure that it protects your idea for the longest time possible, you will need the help of an experienced intellectual property attorney. An experienced intellectual property attorney can utilize their experience, expertise, and knowledge of the patent and trademark system to get you the best possible outcome.