What is a patent? A United States Patent is basically a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is acontract where the U . S . government expressly permits someone or company to monopolize a particular concept for a short time. Typically, our government frowns upon any sort of monopolization in commerce, as a result of belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. A great example is the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years back into the many regional phone companies. The government, in particular the Justice Department (the governmental agency which prosecutes monopoly or “antitrust” violations), thought that Bell Telephone was an unfair monopoly and forced it to relinquish its monopoly powers over the telephone industry.
Why, then, would the federal government permit a monopoly in the form of a patent? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors ahead forward with their creations. In doing so, the us government actually promotes advancements in science and technology.
To start with, it needs to be clear to you personally just how a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the property owner in the Vibe Inventhelp to stop other people from producing the product or using the process covered by the patent. Consider Thomas Edison along with his most popular patented invention, the light bulb. With his patent for your light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent every other person or company from producing, using or selling light bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no one could compete with him inside the light bulb business, and therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to get his monopoly, Thomas Edison needed to give something in exchange. He necessary to fully “disclose” his invention to the public. To have a U . S . Patent, an inventor must fully disclose what the invention is, the actual way it operates, and the best way known through the inventor making it.It really is this disclosure for the public which entitles the inventor to your monopoly.The logic for accomplishing this is the fact by promising inventors a monopoly in exchange for his or her disclosures for the public, inventors will continually make an effort to develop new technologies and disclose these to the public. Providing these with the monopoly enables them to profit financially through the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there would be few incentives to produce new technologies, because without having a patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing that the invention will be stolen once they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul with regards to their invention, as well as the public would never benefit.
The grant of rights within patent will last for a limited period.Utility patents expire two decades once they are filed.If this type of had not been the case, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there would be serious consequences. For example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for the light bulb, we may probably must pay about $300 to purchase a light bulb today.Without competition, there will be little incentive for Edison to boost upon his light bulb.Instead, when the Edison light bulb patent expired, everyone was able to manufacture light bulbs, and many companies did.The vigorous competition to accomplish just that after expiration in the Inventhelp Innovation resulted in higher quality, lower costing light bulbs.
II. Types of patents
You can find essentially three types of patents which you should know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent pertains to inventions which have a “functional” aspect (in other words, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it genuinely “does” something).Put simply, the one thing which can be different or “special” about the invention has to be to get a functional purpose.To be eligible for utility patent protection, an invention also must fall within at least one of the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Stay in mind that just about any physical, functional invention will fall into one or more of such categories, so you will not need to be concerned with which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: imagine a “machine” as a thing that accomplishes an activity due to the interaction of their physical parts, like a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.This is the combination and interconnection of those physical parts that we are concerned and which can be protected from the patent.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be looked at as things that accomplish a job just like a unit, but minus the interaction of varied physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may appear to be similar in many cases, you can distinguish the 2 by considering articles of manufacture as more simplistic things that normally have no moving parts. A paper clip, as an example is surely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes an activity (holding papers together), but is clearly not a “machine” because it is a basic device which will not rely on the interaction of numerous parts.
C) Process: a means of doing something through a number of steps, each step interacting somehow using a physical element, is actually a “process.” A process can be considered a new method of manufacturing a known product or can even be a new use for any known product. Board games are usually protected as being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions such as pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds such as soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and also the like can be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes are frequently protected in this manner.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of the object, instead of its “utility” or function, which is protected by way of a utility patent. In other words, if the invention is really a useful object which has a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might give you the appropriate protection. To prevent infringement, a copier would have to produce a version that fails to look “substantially similar to the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the form and overall look without infringing the design patent.
A provisional patent application is really a step toward acquiring a utility patent, where invention might not even be ready to obtain a utility patent. Quite simply, if it seems as if the invention cannot yet get a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed inside the Patent Office to establish the inventor’s priority for the invention.As the inventor consistently develop the invention to make further developments that allow a utility patent to be obtained, then the inventor can “convert” the provisional application to some full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for your date once the provisional application was first filed.
A provisional patent has several benefits:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far the most well-known advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to instantly begin marking the item “patent pending.” This has an occasion-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen in the media” label that is put on many products. A product bearing these two phrases clearly possesses a professional marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Ability to improve the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has one year to “convert” the provisional into a “full blown” utility application.In that year, the inventor should try to commercialize the product and assess its potential. In the event the product appears commercially viable during that year, then the inventor is asked to convert the provisional application right into a utility application.However, unlike a typical utility application which should not be changed in any respect, a provisional application may have additional material added to it to boost it upon its conversion within 1 year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips that had been obtained through the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product can be implemented and protected during that time.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor having a crucial “filing date.” In other words, the date the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for that later filed/converted utility patent.
III. Requirements for getting a utility patent. When you are sure that your invention is really a potential candidate to get a utility patent (since it fits within one of many statutory classes), you ought to then move ahead to assess whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” Those two requirements are essentially concerned with whether your invention is completely new, and when so, whether there is a substantial difference between it and similar products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To obtain a utility patent, you need to initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. Put simply, is the invention new?Are you the very first person to have considered it? For example, should you obtain a patent on the light bulb, it seems like quite clear that you simply would not be eligible for a patent, considering that the light bulb will not be a new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based upon the fact that Edison invented the light bulb a long time ago. In rejecting your patent application, the Patent Office would actually cite the Edison light bulb patent against you as relevant “prior art” (prior art is everything “known” prior to your conception from the invention or everything recognized to the general public several year before you file a patent application for the invention).
To your invention to become novel with respect to other inventions on the planet (prior art), it should simply be different in a few minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel over a similar invention.If you decide to invent a square light bulb, your invention would sometimes be novel when compared to Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). In the event the patent office would cite the round Edison light bulb against your square one as prior art to show that your invention had not been novel, they would be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which is identical to yours in every single way your invention lacks novelty and is also not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly very easy to overcome, since any slight variation in good shape, size, mixture of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even although the invention is novel, it might fail one other requirement stated earlier: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, do not celebrate yet — it really is more difficult to fulfill the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to overcome within the search for Inventhelp Invention Ideas. Indeed, if novelty were the sole requirement to fulfill, then almost anything conceivable may be patented as long as it differed slightly from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement must be satisfied after the novelty real question is met. This second requirement is called “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states in part that although an invention as well as the related prior art might not really “identical” (which means that the invention is novel with respect to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable when the differences between it and the related prior art could be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the field of the particular invention.
This really is in fact the Patent and Trademark Office’s way of subjectively judging the “quality” of the invention. Clearly the PTO has no latitude in judging whether your invention is novel or otherwise — it is actually more often than not quite evident whether any differences exist between your invention as well as the prior art.About this point there is not any room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is a reasonably bit of room for many different opinions, considering that the requirement is inherently subjective: different people, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding whether the invention is really obvious.
Some common samples of things which are not usually considered significant, and so which can be usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to create something lighter in weight; changing the size or color; combining items of what type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for an additional similar component, etc.
IV. What exactly is considered prior art by the Patent Office?
The patent laws, specifically 35 U.S.C. section 102, outline eight major varieties of prior art which can be employed to stop you from getting a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those things that the PTO can cite against you in an attempt to prove that your particular invention is not in reality novel or to show that your invention is obvious. These eight sections can be broken down into an arranged and understandable format comprising two main categories: prior art which can be dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are currently not the very first inventor); and prior art which dates back just before your “filing date” (thus showing that you might have waited too long to file for any patent).
A) Prior art which dates back before your date of invention: It would manage to sound right that when prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you should not be entitled to acquire a patent on that invention as you would not truly function as the first inventor. Section 102(a) from the patent law specifically describes the points which can be utilized for prior art should they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the United States: Any evidence that your invention was “known” by others, in the United States, before your date of invention. Even if there is no patent or written documentation showing that your particular invention was known in the usa, the PTO may still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can show that your particular invention was generally proven to the public just before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the usa: Use by others of the invention you are attempting to patent in public areas in the United States, just before your date of invention, can be held against your patent application from the PTO. This will make clear sense, since if someone else was publicly making use of the invention before you even conceived of it, you obviously should not be the initial and first inventor of it, and you do not deserve to obtain a patent because of it.
3) Patented in the United States or abroad: Any United States or foreign patents which issued prior to your date of invention and which disclose your invention will likely be used against your patent application from the PTO. As an example, think that you invent a lobster de-shelling tool on June 1, 2007.The PTO can use any patents which disclose the same lobster de-shelling tool, United States Of America or foreign, which issued before June 1, 2007 (your date of invention) against your patent application.
4) Published publicly in United States Of America or abroad: Any U . S . or foreignprinted publications (including books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published before your date of invention will keep you from obtaining a patent.Again, the reasoning here is that if your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly are not the very first inventor (since somebody else looked at it before you) and also you usually are not entitled to patent on it.
B)Prior art which dates back just before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was defined as everything known prior to your conception of the invention or everything known to the public more than one year before your filing of a patent application. What this means is that in many circumstances, even although you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to acquire a patent on it if this has entered the arena of public knowledge and more than 1 year has passed between that point as well as your filing of any patent application. The purpose of this rule would be to persuade folks to get patents on their own inventions as soon as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) of the patent law defines specifically those varieties of prior art which can be utilized against you as being a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in america: In the event the invention you intend to patent was sold or offered on the market in the United States more than one year before you file a patent application, then you are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your own invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of the invention on January 1, 2008, and provide it available for sale on January 3, 2008, in an effort to raise some funds to try to get a patent. You have to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (1 year from the day you offered it for sale).Should you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for example, the PTO will reject your application to be barred because it was offered for sale multiple year just before your filing date.This also will be the case if someone other than yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still which you conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it for sale publicly.You just kept it to yourself.Also believe that on February 1, 2008, another person conceived of the invention and began selling it. This starts your 1 year clock running!Should you not file a patent on the invention by February 2, 2009, (one year from the date another person began selling it) then you definitely also will likely be forever barred from obtaining a patent. Note this provision from the law prevents you from acquiring a patent, even though there is absolutely no prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you are indeed the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), for the reason that the invention was available to people for more than 1 year before your filing date due to one other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you acquiring a patent even though you happen to be first inventor and also have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in america: When the invention you intend to patent was used in america on your part or another several year before your filing of the patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your own invention. Typical examples of public use are once you or somebody else display and utilize the invention at a trade show or public gathering, on tv, or anywhere else where the general public has potential access.The general public use need not be one that specifically intends to have the public aware of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed through the public will suffice to begin the one year clock running (but a secret use will most likely not invoke usually the one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in the usa or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or other printed publication on your part or by another individual, available to people in the usa or abroad more than one year before your filing date, will prevent you from acquiring a patent on your own invention.Note that even a post authored by you, regarding your own invention, will start usually the one-year clock running.So, for example, should you detailed your invention in a press ndefzr and mailed it all out, this might start the main one-year clock running.So too would the one-year clock start running for you personally in case a complete stranger published a printed article about the main topic of your invention.
4) Patented in the usa or abroad: In case a United States or foreign patent covering your invention issued over a year prior to your filing date, you will be barred from acquiring a patent. Compare this with the previous section regarding United States and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) from the patent law, you happen to be prohibited from acquiring a patent when the filing date of another patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we are discussing here, you are unable to get yourself a patent on an invention which was disclosed in another patent issued over this past year, even should your date of invention was before the filing date of this patent.