What is a patent? A United States Patent is essentially a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is acontract where the United States government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a certain 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 good example is the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some in the past into the many regional phone companies. The government, in particular the Justice Department (the governmental agency which prosecutes monopoly or “antitrust” violations), believed 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 by means of a patent? The us government makes an exception to encourage inventors to come forward with their creations. In doing so, the us government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To begin with, it should be clear to you just the way a patent acts as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the homeowner in the Inventhelp Company News to stop other people from producing the merchandise or using the process protected by the patent. Think about Thomas Edison and his most popular patented invention, the light bulb. With his patent for the light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent some other person or company from producing, using or selling light bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no person could compete with him inside the light bulb business, and hence he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to get his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in exchange. He required to fully “disclose” his invention for the public. To acquire a U . S . Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, the way it operates, and the best way known through the inventor making it.It is actually this disclosure to the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is that by promising inventors a monopoly in turn for his or her disclosures to the public, inventors will continually make an effort to develop new technologies and disclose these to the public. Providing them with the monopoly enables them to profit financially from the invention. Without this “tradeoff,” there would be few incentives to produce new technologies, because without having a patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work will bring him no financial reward.Fearing their invention could be stolen once they attempt to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul regarding their invention, and the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights within patent can last for a small period.Utility patents expire two decades after they are filed.If this type of was not the case, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there would be serious consequences. As an example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for that light bulb, we would probably need to pay about $300 to buy a light bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to enhance upon his light bulb.Instead, when the Edison light bulb patent expired, everybody was liberated to manufacture light bulbs, and several companies did.The vigorous competition to perform just that after expiration of the How To Submit A Patent led to better quality, lower costing light bulbs.
II. Varieties of patents
There are essentially three kinds of patents which you should be aware of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent pertains to inventions which may 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 must be to get a functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention should also fall within one or more in 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 such categories, so that you do not need to be concerned with which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: think of a “machine” as something which accomplishes an activity as a result of interaction of its physical parts, for instance a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.It is the combination and interconnection of such physical parts that we have been concerned and that are protected from the patent.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be regarded as things that accomplish a job just like a piece of equipment, but minus the interaction of various physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may appear to be similar in many cases, you can distinguish the 2 by thinking of articles of manufacture as more simplistic things which typically have no moving parts. A paper clip, for example is definitely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a job (holding papers together), but is clearly not really a “machine” as it is a basic device which fails to rely on the interaction of numerous parts.
C) Process: a way of performing something through several steps, each step interacting in some way using a physical element, is regarded as a “process.” A procedure can be a new approach to manufacturing a known product or can even be a new use to get a known product. Board games are usually protected as being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions like 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, as opposed to its “utility” or function, which is protected by a utility patent. In other words, when the invention is actually a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall look, a design patent might supply the appropriate protection. To prevent infringement, a copier will have to produce a version that will not look “substantially like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the form and overall look without infringing the style patent.
A provisional patent application is a step toward getting a utility patent, where invention might not yet anticipate to get yourself a utility patent. Quite simply, when it seems like the invention cannot yet get a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed in the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority towards the invention.Because the inventor consistently develop the invention making further developments that allow a utility patent to get obtained, then this inventor can “convert” the provisional application to your full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for that date if the provisional application was first filed.
A provisional patent has several advantages:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far the most well-known advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the product “patent pending.” It has a period-proven tremendous commercial value, like the “as seen on TV” label that is put on many products. A product or service bearing both these phrases clearly possesses a professional marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Capacity to improve the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has 1 year to “convert” the provisional in to a “full blown” utility application.In that year, the inventor should try to commercialize the item and assess its potential. If the product appears commercially viable in that year, then your inventor is encouraged to convert the provisional application in to a utility application.However, unlike a normal utility application which cannot be changed in any way, a provisional application may have additional material put into it to enhance it upon its conversion within 1 year.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips that were obtained through the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization from the product can be implemented and protected during those times.
C) Establishment of the filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor with a crucial “filing date.” Quite simply, the date the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for your later filed/converted utility patent.
III. Requirements for getting a utility patent. When you are certain your invention is actually a potential candidate for a utility patent (because it fits within one of the statutory classes), you need to then move ahead to assess whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” These two requirements are essentially concerned with whether your invention is completely new, and in case so, whether there is a substantial difference between it and other products inside the related field.
A) Novelty: To acquire a utility patent, you need to initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. In other words, is your invention new?Have you been the very first person to get thought of it? For example, if you decide to make application for a patent on the light bulb, it seems like quite clear that you would not be entitled to a patent, considering that the light bulb is not a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your 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 of the invention or everything proven to the public more than one year before you file a patent application for that invention).
To your invention to get novel with regards to other inventions in the world (prior art), it must just be different in certain minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel more than a similar invention.If you were to invent a square light bulb, your invention would sometimes be novel compared to the Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). If the patent office were to cite the round Edison light bulb against your square one as prior art to show that your particular invention had not been novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which is identical to yours in each and every way your invention lacks novelty and is also not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly easy to overcome, since any slight variation fit, size, mixture of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even although the invention is novel, it might fail one other requirement mentioned previously: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, tend not to celebrate yet — it is actually more difficult to fulfill the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to overcome in the quest for How To Patent Ideas. Indeed, if novelty were the only real requirement in order to satisfy, then just about anything conceivable might be patented as long as it differed slightly from all of previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a much more difficult, complex requirement must be satisfied following the novelty real question is met. This second requirement is called “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states partly that although an invention and also the related prior art might not really “identical” (meaning that the invention is novel with regards to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable if the differences between it and also the related prior art would be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the area of the specific invention.
This is in actuality the Patent and Trademark Office’s method of subjectively judging the “quality” of an invention. Clearly the PTO has no latitude in judging whether your invention is novel or otherwise not — it really is almost always quite evident whether any differences exist between your invention and also the prior art.With this point there is no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is quite a bit of room for various opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: each person, including different Examiners at the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding whether or not the invention is really obvious.
Some common samples of things which usually are not usually considered significant, and therefore which are usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to make something much lighter; 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 kinds of prior art which can be used to prevent you from getting a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those activities that the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your invention will not be actually novel or even to show that your particular invention is obvious. These eight sections can be broken down into an organized and understandable format comprising two main categories: prior art which is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are currently not the first inventor); and prior art which dates back just before your “filing date” (thus showing that you simply might have waited too long to file to get a patent).
A) Prior art which dates back before your date of invention: It would seem to make sense that if prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you should not be entitled to obtain a patent on that invention as you would not truly function as the first inventor. Section 102(a) of the patent law specifically describes the things which can be used as prior art when they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the usa: Any evidence that your particular invention was “known” by others, in the usa, before your date of invention. Even if there is no patent or written documentation showing that your invention was known in the United States, the PTO may still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty should they can show that your particular invention was generally known to the public before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the United States: Use by others in the invention you are trying to patent in public in the usa, before your date of invention, can take place against your patent application through the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if somebody else was publicly using the invention before you even conceived of this, you obviously can not be the first and first inventor of this, and you may not deserve to receive a patent for 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 is going to be used against your patent application from the PTO. For example, think that you invent a lobster de-shelling tool on June 1, 2007.The PTO can use any patents which disclose an identical 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 United States or foreignprinted publications (like books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published prior to 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 usually are not the initial inventor (since somebody else thought of it before you) and also you are certainly not entitled to patent onto it.
B)Prior art which dates back just before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was defined as everything known before your conception in the invention or everything known to people multiple year before your filing of a patent application. Therefore that in lots of circumstances, even although you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to obtain a patent on it if it has entered the world of public knowledge and more than one year has gone by between that point as well as your filing of the patent application. The objective of this rule is to encourage people to apply for patents on their own inventions as soon as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) in the patent law defines specifically those kinds of prior art which can be utilized against you as being a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in the United States: In the event the invention you intend to patent was sold or offered on the market in the usa multiple year before you file a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on your own invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of the invention on January 1, 2008, and provide it for sale on January 3, 2008, so as to raise some funds to try to get a patent. You have to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (one year from your day you offered it on the market).In the event you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, as an example, the PTO will reject your application for being barred since it was offered available for sale more than one year before your filing date.This too will be the case if someone other than yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but did not sell or offer it on the market publicly.You just kept it to yourself.Also think that on February 1, 2008, another person conceived of the invention and began selling it. This starts your twelve months clock running!Unless you file a patent on the invention by February 2, 2009, (1 year through the date the other person began selling it) then you definitely also will likely be forever barred from acquiring a patent. Note this provision in the law prevents you against getting a patent, even though there is absolutely no prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you truly are the first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was available to the general public more than 1 year before your filing date as a result of the other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin your odds of getting a patent even though you are the first inventor and also have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: In the event the invention you wish to patent was used in the United States on your part or any other more than one year before your filing of a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your invention. Typical types of public use are once you or somebody else display and utilize the invention in a trade show or public gathering, on tv, or elsewhere in which the general public has potential access.The public use do not need to be one which specifically intends to have the public aware of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed by the public will suffice to start the one year clock running (but a secret use will usually not invoke the one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in america or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or other printed publication by you or by someone else, available to the public in the usa or abroad multiple year before your filing date, will stop you from acquiring a patent on the invention.Note that even a post published by you, regarding your own invention, begins usually the one-year clock running.So, as an example, in the event you detailed your invention in a press ndefzr and mailed it out, this could start the main one-year clock running.So too would the main one-year clock start running for you personally in case a complete stranger published a printed article about the topic of your invention.
4) Patented in america or abroad: When a United States or foreign patent covering your invention issued more than a year prior to your filing date, you will be barred from obtaining a patent. Compare this using the previous section regarding U . S . and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) in the patent law, you happen to be prohibited from acquiring a patent when the filing date of some other patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we are discussing here, you cannot obtain a patent with an invention which had been disclosed in another patent issued over a year ago, even in case your date of invention was before the filing date of this patent.