Patent law is one of the nuanced, jargon-heavy areas of law. That is why there are a lot of common misunderstandings about the process and what comes under it. The Orange County patent law firm can be a necessary and helpful guide to navigate its complications. These are some of the common misunderstandings about patent law:

1. You don’t need a prototype to file for a patent

A common misconception around patent law is that you need to have an actual product in your hand to get a patent for it. You don’t need a prototype to file for a patent. A safe litmus test is to gauge whether another interested listener can somewhat easily replicate your idea if you describe it in length to them. This litmus test helps figure out how refined and non-generalized your idea is.

It always helps to have a prototype, though, since it can help overcome flaws within the concept and be more confident about the product. However, that always needs to be traded off with the likelihood of someone replicating your idea. A lot of companies get patents before manufacturing a prototype. You can too!

2. A “pending patent” does not guarantee protection

Another common misconception is that if you have filed a patent application, it gives some sort of protection to your product from infringement. As long as the status of your application is pending, you don’t own that intellectual property. However, once you get your patent, the pending status of your application can come in handy while seeking damages from the infringer. Those damages can date back to the time the application was submitted.

3. Every patent is not the same

People seek patents to either protect their invention or to check if they are infringing on someone else’s patent. Therefore, it is helpful to get to know the different types of patents available, i.e. the difference between design and utility patents. They protect various aspects of the invention, and therefore, the damages you seek also differ.

Design patents protect the appearance of your invention, i.e., the way they look, the features used to enhance their appearance, and the user-interface outlook. Utility patents protect the applications of that design, and therefore, cover the range of functions the technology would be used for. Design patents offer limited protection, and so it’s recommended to apply for both to protect your invention. While ensuring that you aren’t infringing on someone else’s patent, it is useful to purview the scope of the utility patents of competing market products.

4. Slightly modifying the product protects me from patent infringement

A common misconception is that slight changes to the design or utility reflexively result in being protected from patent infringement. There is no set guideline on what counts as patent infringement. You will have to purview through the patent documents of competing products to fully realize what changes would count as legitimate.


Patent laws and getting a patent is a complicated process. Lawyers can help navigate the lengthy process, and the misconceptions above are a trailer of all the mistakes that can happen. Even though tricky, it is necessary and valuable to apply for a patent as soon and thoroughly as possible.