Is there a special process for patenting improvements to my already issued patent? The intent is to extend the patent.
Okay, yeah. So you know, a patent is a monopoly. And we'll talk about utility patents for now. So like any monopoly, any patent monopoly, they're not forever. So if this is the date you file, you get a certain amount of time of protection. For utility patents that time is 20 years. So you get 20 years of protection. Now, I don't recall this questioner’s name, but if he's asking what can you do to get additional protection beyond 20 years, the only way to get that is to file for an improvement on the original design. You cannot repattern something again, so you can't file a duplicate of your original design. You have to come up with an improvement. And as we discussed earlier, today, the improvement can't be changes in shape, and it can't be changes in size, or changes in color. Sorry, it can be a change in shape, if that's unique and novel. But typically, size is not enough, because we don't put dimensions. Most patent attorneys, the good ones, don't put dimensions in a patent. So all sizes are covered. And color—-you can't just say well, it used to be purple, but now I've made it yellow, and get a different patent. Because color is typically not patentable unless—and here's the big unless—unless it's unique, unless it's novel, and it provides some useful advantage. So if you find that secret color, that perfect color that prevents bird poop from landing on your car, and this color that you've identified—yes, maybe you can. In that case, color might be unusual. But simply saying—changing something from our firm signature red to a different color, that's not going to be enough. But you have to improve your product to get protection to go beyond the 20 years.
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