The construction industry constantly creates new tools, materials, and building techniques to help improve the design, efficiency, safety, and sustainability of projects.
Patterson Intellectual Property Law points out that recent advances have included:
- Anchoring and shelving systems to simplify the construction process making previously expensive and difficult tasks quick, easy, and reliable.
- Drones with advanced control and sensing features to help contractors inspect and measure remote projects and inventory safely and accurately.
- Additives to help improve construction speed and usability of concrete.
- Tools to assist workers to assemble and place concrete reinforcements.
The construction industry has always been good about utilizing technology from cutting-edge patents such as 3-D printing, solar cells, and graphene composite material to create new building techniques.
Inventors of construction innovations can protect their intellectual property rights by filing for U.S. patents. Most construction patents are utility patents, but some construction inventions can also be protected under design patents.
Utility Patent the Most Popular Type of Design Patent
Utility patents are by far the most common type of patent application filed with the U.S. Patent Office to protect inventions.
Nuestel Attorneys at Law says, “While utility patent applications are more expensive than design patent applications, a utility patent typically will protect your invention better than a design patent.”
Benefits of a utility patent include:
- The functional aspects of inventions are protected.
- Provides broad patent protection, making it harder for competing products to avoid patent infringement.
- Single utility patents can protect different variations of invention.
In addition to being more expensive, utility patents can take longer (approximately 2-3 years) to receive approval, and they will not protect the ornamental features of an invention.
Do not Overlook Design Patents for Construction
Design patents, which address the appearance of a new product, are not as common as utility patents but they cost less and take less time to attain.
Benefits of a design patent include:
- Process for approval takes between 1 to 2 years.
- Less expensive to file than a utility patent.
- Protects appearance of a new product when it is a main feature.
Remember it does not have to be an “either/or” question as you can file for both a utility and design patent for your product if it has functional and appearance features you want to protect.
Other Legal Options to Protect Your Rights
Patterson Intellectual Property Law highlights several other options to help protect your rights when it comes to construction inventions:
- Architectural Copyright: Designs, plans, instruction manuals, blueprints, layouts and CAD files can receive protection via copyright registration.
- Trademark Protection: Names, logos, building designs, property layouts and product colors can all receive protection via trademark registration.
Keep in mind that both federal and state laws can govern trademarks.
Green Span Profiles Uses Patented Materials
One of the aspects that makes Green Span Profiles the manufacturer of the highest-quality insulated panels in the United States is the use of patented materials and techniques.
RidgeLine, Green Span Profiles standing-seam roof panel, for example, uses a patented tee-seam which allows for sliding the panels together rather than lifting and/or rolling the panels into place.
Green Span Profiles is also utilizing patent-pending wall reinforcement plates (BAC clips) that eliminate back-fastening, which allows panels to better perform as intended and saves time and money.
Contact Green Span Profiles today to find out how our insulated metal panel technologies can help with your construction project.