So there are generally three main types of patents: utility patents, design patents and plant patents. Utility patents include both temporary patents that are called provisional patents, and final patents that are called non-provisional patents. In order to qualify for a utility patent, you must show your idea to be new, useful, and non-obvious. A patent must also fit within one of four statutory classes: either a process, a machine, a manufacturer, or combination of matter, and utility patents can be granted for software, as well. Design patents are for those situations where the look of an invention is unique and you want to protect the ornamental features of an idea. Finally, plant patents are specialty patents granted for certain types of new plants.
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