Black’s Law dictionary defines “utility patent” as “the customary type of patent issued to any novel, non-obvious, and useful machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter or process.”
A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the Patent Office. The right granted by the Patent Office, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, is “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the U.S. or “importing” the invention into the U.S. When the patent obtained is a utility patent, the rights obtained cover the way the invention is structured and functions, with exclusive rights being owned by the inventor even if the allegedly infringing product looks different.
The Patent Search is always the first and most critical step in the Patent Application process. Put simply, the Patent Application should only be filed if the Patent Search is clear. Once the Patent Search is clear, you can file the Utility or Non-Provisional Patent Application. Once filed, you are free to begin advertising, manufacturing, distributing and selling. Once approved, the Non-Provisional Patent Application essentially gives the inventor a monopoly to do the same.