What is a patent? A United States Patent is actually a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is acontract in which the U . S . government expressly permits someone or company to monopolize a particular concept for a very limited time. Typically, our government frowns upon any type of monopolization in commerce, because of the belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. A great example is the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years ago into the many regional phone companies. The us 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 government permit a monopoly in the form of a patent? The government makes an exception to encourage inventors to come forward using their creations. By doing this, the government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To begin with, it ought to be clear to you just just how a patent acts as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the property owner of the Idea Patent to avoid other people from producing the product or making use of the process covered by the patent. Think about Thomas Edison and his most famous patented invention, the light bulb. Together with his patent for that light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent any other person or company from producing, using or selling light bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no one could contend with him in the light bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to obtain his monopoly, Thomas Edison needed to give something in return. He needed to fully “disclose” his invention for the public. To have a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, the way it operates, and the easiest way known from the inventor making it.It really is this disclosure towards the public which entitles the inventor to some monopoly.The logic for accomplishing this is that by promising inventors a monopoly in turn for disclosures for the public, inventors will continually strive to develop new technologies and disclose them to the public. Providing all of them with the monopoly allows them to profit financially from your invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to build up technologies, because without having a patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing that the invention could be stolen whenever they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul with regards to their invention, as well as the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights within a patent lasts for a small period.Utility patents expire twenty years once they are filed.If the was not the case, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there will be serious consequences. For instance, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for the light bulb, we might probably have to pay about $300 to buy a light bulb today.Without competition, there will be little incentive for Edison to boost upon his light bulb.Instead, after the Edison light bulb patent expired, everybody was free to manufacture light bulbs, and several companies did.The vigorous competition to do just that after expiration in the Inventhelp Stories resulted in higher quality, lower costing light bulbs.
II. Varieties of patents
You can find essentially three kinds of patents which you should know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent applies to inventions which have a “functional” aspect (in other words, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it actually “does” something).Put simply, the thing which can be different or “special” concerning the invention has to be for a functional purpose.To be eligible for utility patent protection, an invention should also fall within a minumum of 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 at least one of those categories, so that you need not be concerned with which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: consider a “machine” as something which accomplishes a job due to the interaction of its physical parts, for instance a can opener, a car engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of those physical parts with which we have been concerned and which can be protected from the patent.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” needs to be looked at as things which accomplish a job just like a piece of equipment, but minus the interaction of varied physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may are most often similar in many cases, you can distinguish the two by thinking about articles of manufacture as more simplistic items that routinely have no moving parts. A paper clip, for instance is an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a job (holding papers together), but is clearly not just a “machine” since it is a simple device which will not rely on the interaction of various parts.
C) Process: a way of doing something through one or more steps, each step interacting in some way using a physical element, is regarded as a “process.” A procedure can become a new approach to manufacturing a known product or can even be a new use for a known product. Board games are typically protected as a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions including 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 fashion.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of an object, instead of its “utility” or function, which is protected by way of a utility patent. In other words, when the invention is a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might supply the appropriate protection. To avoid infringement, a copier will have to generate a version that does not look “substantially similar to the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the form and overall appearance without infringing the design and style patent.
A provisional patent application is a step toward acquiring a utility patent, in which the invention might not yet anticipate to get a utility patent. In other words, if this seems like the invention cannot yet obtain a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed inside the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority to the invention.Since the inventor continues to develop the invention and make further developments that allow a utility patent to be obtained, then this inventor can “convert” the provisional application to a full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for the date when the provisional application was initially filed.
A provisional patent has several benefits:
A) Patent Pending Status: The most well-known benefit of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the merchandise “patent pending.” It has a time-proven tremendous commercial value, similar to the “as seen on TV” label which can be applied to many products. A product bearing both these phrases clearly possesses a professional marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Capability to increase the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has twelve months to “convert” the provisional into a “full blown” utility application.In that year, the inventor need to commercialize the product and assess its potential. If the product appears commercially viable in that year, then your inventor is encouraged to convert the provisional application right into a utility application.However, unlike an ordinary utility application which should not be changed in any way, a provisional application may have additional material included in it to boost it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips which were obtained by the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization from the product can be implemented and protected at that time.
C) Establishment of any filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor having a crucial “filing date.” Put simply, the date that this provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for that later filed/converted utility patent.
III. Requirements for obtaining a utility patent. Once you are certain that your invention is actually a potential candidate for any utility patent (because 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.” Both of these requirements are essentially concerned with whether your invention is new, and if so, whether you will find a substantial distinction between it and similar products within the related field.
A) Novelty: To acquire a utility patent, you must initially decide if your invention is “novel”. Quite simply, is your invention new?Are you the initial person to get looked at it? As an example, should you make application for a patent on the light bulb, it seems like quite clear which you would not really entitled to a patent, since the light bulb is not really a whole new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based on the truth 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 in the invention or everything proven to the public several year before you file a patent application for your invention).
For your invention to be novel regarding other inventions on the planet (prior art), it has to simply be different in a few minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel spanning a similar invention.Should you invent a square light bulb, your invention would actually 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 was not novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which can be just like yours in every single way your invention lacks novelty and it is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly easy to overcome, since any slight variation fit, size, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even though the invention is novel, it might fail another requirement stated earlier: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, usually do not celebrate yet — it really is more difficult to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As stated before, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to get over inside the search for Inventhelp Product Licensing. Indeed, if novelty were the sole requirement to fulfill, then just about everything conceivable may be patented as long since it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a much more difficult, complex requirement has to be satisfied right after the novelty real question is met. This second requirement is referred to as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states to some extent that although an invention and the related prior art might not “identical” (which means the invention is novel with regards to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable in the event the differences between it and also the related prior art could be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the area of the specific invention.
This can be in actuality the Patent and Trademark Office’s method 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 more often than not quite evident whether any differences exist between your invention and the prior art.On this point there is not any room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is a reasonably bit of room for a number of opinions, because the requirement is inherently subjective: different people, including different Examiners in the Patent Office, will have different opinions regarding whether the invention is truly obvious.
Some common examples of things that are not usually considered significant, and so that are usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to make something much lighter; changing the size or color; combining pieces of what type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for the next similar component, etc.
IV. What is considered prior art through 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 prevent you from obtaining a patent. In other words, it defines exactly those activities that the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that the invention will not be in fact novel or to show that your particular invention is obvious. These eight sections can be broken down into a structured and understandable format comprising two main categories: prior art which is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you will be not the first inventor); and prior art which dates back prior to your “filing date” (thus showing that you might have waited too long to file for any patent).
A) Prior art which dates back just before your date of invention: It could appear to seem sensible that in case 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 become the first inventor. Section 102(a) of the patent law specifically describes the points which can be used as prior art when they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the usa: Any evidence that the invention was “known” by others, in the usa, before your date of invention. Even when there is no patent or written documentation showing that the 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 recognized to the general public before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the usa: Use by others of the invention you are trying to patent in public areas in the United States, prior to your date of invention, can take place against your patent application through the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if someone else was publicly utilizing the invention before you even conceived from it, you obviously should not be the original and first inventor of it, and you may not need to get a patent for it.
3) Patented in america or abroad: Any United States Of America or foreign patents which issued prior to your date of invention and which disclose your invention will be used against your patent application from the PTO. For instance, assume 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 or foreign, which issued before June 1, 2007 (your date of invention) against your patent application.
4) Published publicly in U . S . or abroad: Any United States or foreignprinted publications (including books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published prior to your date of invention will prevent you from getting a patent.Again, the reasoning here is that if your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you usually are not the initial inventor (since another person thought of it before you) and you usually are not eligible to patent onto it.
B)Prior art which dates back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was described as everything known before your conception from the invention or everything known to people multiple year before your filing of any patent application. What this means is that in many circumstances, even although you were the first one to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to get a patent into it if this has entered the realm of public knowledge and over one year has passed between that point and your filing of a patent application. The objective of this rule is always to encourage people to try to get patents on their inventions as soon as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) in the patent law defines specifically those varieties of prior art which can be applied against you being a “one-year bar” as follows:
1) Commercial activity in the United States: In the event the invention you want to patent was sold or offered for sale in the usa several year before you file a patent application, then you are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your own invention on January 1, 2008, and offer it on the market on January 3, 2008, so as to raise some funds to get a patent. You must file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (1 year through the day you offered it available for sale).Should you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for example, the PTO will reject the application for being barred since it was offered for sale multiple year prior to your filing date.This also will be the case if someone besides yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but did not sell or offer it available for sale publicly.You just kept it to yourself.Also believe that on February 1, 2008, somebody else conceived of the invention and began selling it. This starts your one year clock running!Should you not file a patent on your own invention by February 2, 2009, (twelve months through the date another person began selling it) then you certainly also will likely be forever barred from obtaining a patent. Note that this provision of the law prevents you from obtaining a patent, even though there is no prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you also are indeed the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was accessible to people more than twelve months before your filing date due to one other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you obtaining a patent even though you are the first inventor and have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the usa: In the event the invention you want to patent was used in the usa on your part or some other several year before your filing of the patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on the invention. Typical samples of public use are whenever you or another person display and use the invention in a trade show or public gathering, on television, or elsewhere in which the general public has potential access.People use need not be the one that specifically plans to have the public mindful 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 usually not invoke the one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in the United States or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or some other printed publication on your part or by another person, available to the general public in the United States or abroad more than one year before your filing date, will keep you from obtaining a patent on your own invention.Note that even a post published by you, concerning your own invention, will begin the main one-year clock running.So, for example, should you detailed your invention in a press ndefzr and mailed it all out, this would start usually the one-year clock running.So too would usually the one-year clock start running to suit your needs in case a complete stranger published a printed article about the topic of your invention.
4) Patented in the usa or abroad: If a United States Of America or foreign patent covering your invention issued more than a year prior to your filing date, you may be barred from obtaining a patent. Compare this with the previous section regarding U . S . and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) from the patent law, you happen to be prohibited from acquiring a patent in the event the filing date of another patent is sooner than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we are discussing here, you are unable to get a patent on an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over this past year, even should your date of invention was before the filing date of that patent.