There are an estimated 1,500 franchise companies operating in the U.S. doing business through more than 320,000 retail units.
Patents grant an inventor the right to exclude others from producing or using the inventor’s discovery or invention for a limited period of time. U.S. Patent laws were enacted by Congress under its Constitutional grant of authority to protect the discoveries of inventors. See U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8. The main body of law concerning patents is found in Title 35 of the United States Code. In order to be patented an invention must be novel, useful, and not of an obvious nature.
The Patent and Trademark Office grants patents, which are a property right to an inventor. To be patentable , an invention must be novel and non-obvious. What a person cannot patent is a perpetual motion device, abstract idea, a law of nature or any naturally occurring substance or any invention publicly disclosed more than 12 months ago.
The patenting process that one goes through to obtain a patent consists of a number of steps. Since the preparation of a patent application is a time consuming process, and sometimes an inventor will want to file as quickly as possible. It is wise to consult a knowledgeable patent attorney to protect the rights for something that you have invested your time to invent.