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Utility patent: is a patent for invention. This focuses on a process, machine, manufactured item or composition of matter (idea that has been reduced to practice). Its protection start date depends on when the patent application was filed. If the application was filed on or after June 8, 1995 (for US patents) then the term is 20 years from the first filing date for the patent.
Design patent: allows a person who has invented any new and non-obvious ornamental design for an article of manufacture to protect that design. The design patent protects only the appearance of an article, but not its structural or functional features. Design patents have a term of 14 years in the USA.
Plant patent: grants a patent to anyone who has invented, discovered or asexually reproduced any distinct and new variety of plant, including cultivated sports, mutants, hybrids and newly found seedlings, other than a tuber- propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. Plant patents have a term of 17 years in the USA.

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