What Is a Patent and Why Should I Care?
In lieu of Mannatech having received its 100th patent, we thought it would be helpful to provide a Patents 101 post, so you can better understand just how significant this is to us as a nutritional supplement company.
What Is a Patent?
A patent is one of the most expensive and complex type of intellectual property rights. It is different from copyright, trademark or trade secret. Essentially, a patent is an official document granted by a country’s government providing exclusive rights to the patent owner. With these rights, you can exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the market where the patent is enforced. In a nutshell, the patent is a grant of exclusive rights that permit the patent owner to stop others from exploiting the patented invention.
Each market may differ in the types of patents it issues. In the U.S., the Patent and Trademark Office issues three types of patents.
- Utility patents are issued for new, non-obvious, and useful inventions or discoveries relating to processes, machines, manufacturers, compositions of matter, or improvements in any of the foregoing.
- Design patents are granted for any new, original, and ornamental design of an article or manufacture.
- Plant patents are granted to whoever invents or discovers and asexually reproduces distinct plants.
Obtaining a Patent
In order to ensure the invention or technology is patentable, it must pass the three-part test — it’s new, useful, and wouldn’t be obvious to someone knowledgeable in the field. Each country’s patent office rules will differ, but the following are the typical steps involved in obtaining a patent:
- Preparing a disclosure of the invention;
- Conducting a patentability search on the invention;
- Preparing and filing a formal patent application in the country’s patent office;
- Pursuing and prosecuting the application in the patent office;
- Appealing any adverse decisions; and
- Obtaining the issuance of the patent.
Quite an Accomplishment!
Mannatech’s collection of 100 patents is an exceptional accomplishment for a company in the nutritional supplement industry. Mannatech, unlike many of its competitors, invests heavily into a robust research and development program from which its unique technology and formulations have been derived. With its formulations patented in multiple major global markets, Mannatech can provide its customers with high value, quality products that stand out among the nutritional supplement crowd.
“It is the rare company in our industry that has even one patent,” said Dr. Rob Sinnott, CEO and Chief Science Officer at Mannatech. “Mannatech commits a great deal of resources, time and funding into the patent process in major global markets to ensure our unique technology is recognized and validated.”