There are three different patents that inventors can choose. Each one is specialized for a particular type of protection, and will last for different amounts of time. It is important for the inventor to know what type of patent is best for their particular type of invention and what will be the process through which they will have to go while patenting an idea. This would completely remove all your queries about how to patent an idea and get benefited out of it.
The first type of patent and most widely used is called a utility patent. These are the patents that are needed for the invention of a new and useful process, machine, or chemical compound. The protection of these patents start the very day they are issued and last up to 20 years. These are also the subject of maintenance fees. Nearly 90% of applicants will use a utility patent.
The next is a patent for a design. This applies only to the ornamental design of a product that has practical use. It cannot be applied towards the actual function of an invention. This actually makes applying for this type of patent much easier as it is not as broad and much more specific on what it requires from inventors. It lasts 14 years after the date the patent is issued.
Difference Between Utility Patent and Design Patent
The difference between a design patent and a utility patent is that a utility patent is needed for the way an invention works and a design patent is needed for the way the invention looks. If the design for an invention has the ability to show a use for the invention, the inventor should apply for a utility patent instead to protect the function of the design as described in this article https://wp.nyu.edu/dispatch/2018/11/12/inventhelp-the-vibrant-business-of-inventing/.
The third patent application is the plant patent. This patent is for asexual plants that are either discovered or created and can be reproduced by cutting or grafting. The plant must be clearly different from plants that were patented before it. This will permit the owner from excluding others from selling, making, or using the plant for up to 20 years after the date of patent application has been filled. This patent excludes sexual and tuber-propagated plants.
Inventors that decide they do not want to patent their invention, but would still like protection should apply for a Statutory Invention Registration (SIR). This is not a patent, but this will prevent anyone else from obtaining a patent on their invention. Anyone that has already applied for a patent may at any time during the time of their application apply for an SIR instead.
The inventor may decide to go this route for many different reasons that include they will not use the technology, money issues or any other reason. This simply keeps other people from obtaining a patent for the same invention. The inventor should be warned that if they are granted an SIR they are giving up any right to a patent for this invention in the future. I f this is confusing, there are professional patenting companies such as InventHelp that are always ready to help in the process.