Patents protect inventions. Patents are often considered the strongest form of IP protection. A patent grants a limited monopoly, which usually lasts 20 years, to the inventor for their invention. The monopoly basically prevents others from using, making, selling, and offering for sale the invention as claimed in the patent. The term “invention” doesn’t just include mechanical inventions, patents can also protect manufacturing processes, compositions of matter, and even some computer systems. Not all inventions can be patented, however. To receive a patent, the invention must be new, nonobvious and useful. Applying for and maintaining a patent is expensive, complicated and time-consuming. The process to obtain a patent is not as simple as filing an application. It is very important not to hesitate in applying for a patent, if that is what you decide to do. The USPTO grants patents on a first-to-file basis and only grants the inventor a 1-year period to file a patent application from the date of the first public disclosure of the invention. Because of the difficult, frustrating, yet extremely meticulous application process, it is vital that inventors seek the help of our attorneys immediately.