Utility Patent – This may be granted for a machine, a process, an article of manufacture, a composition of matter, or an improvement thereof. To be patentable, the invention must be new and useful to a person skilled in the art. A utility patent will not be granted on a useless device, on printed matter, on a method of doing business, or on a machine which will not operate such as a perpetual motion device. A utility patent lasts for 20 years from the date of filing. It is non renewable.
Design Patent – This is quite different. A design patent is issued for any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Only the appearance of the item is considered, the working parts are not relevant. The term for a design patent is 14 years from date of issuance. It is non renewable.
Provisional Application for Patent – Officially started on June 8, 1995 by the patent office. It allows filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information or prior art disclosure. It provides a means to establish an early effective date in a patent application and allows “PATENT PENDING” to be applied. It provides the inventor with a one-year period to further develop the invention, determine marketability, acquire funding or capital, or seek licensing agreements. To obtain a patent, the inventor must file a utility patent application within 12 months of the filing date of the provisional application and it would be best to hire a professional agency such as InventHelp to make a process easier.
Plant Patent – This patent protects invented or discovered asexually reproduced plant varieties. Some examples are, Hybrid Tea Roses, Silver Queen Corn, and Better Boy Tomatoes. A plant patent lasts for 20 years from date of issuance.
Patent Search – A patent search is an important part of the patent process. It is highly recommended that an inventor have a patent search completed prior to any patent application. A proper search can be performed by a patent attorney or patent agent.
Disclosure Document Program – The disclosure document program is NOT a patent or patent application. It is a registration of the invention with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It establishes a date of priority. That means that on the date the patent office receives your disclosure document registration, you are on file as the inventor of that idea. The inventor CANNOT say “patent pending”. The registration will last for two (2) years and will then be destroyed unless referred to in a patent application within the 2 year period. More useful information at https://www.tmcnet.com/topics/articles/2018/06/13/438460-how-inventhelp-change-business-destiny.htm.