What is a patent? A U . S . Patent is actually a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is a contract where the U . S . government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a particular concept for a limited time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any sort 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 in the past to the many regional phone companies. The government, specifically 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 within the telephone industry.
Why, then, would the government permit a monopoly as Invent Help Invention Ideas? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors ahead forward with their creations. By doing this, the us government actually promotes advancements in science and technology.
To begin with, it should be clear to you personally exactly how a patent acts as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the homeowner of the patent to stop anyone else from producing the merchandise or using the process covered by the patent. Consider Thomas Edison and his most popular patented invention, the light bulb. With his patent for that light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent every other person or company from producing, using or selling bulbs without his permission. Essentially, nobody could contend with him inside the bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, to be able to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison needed to give something in turn. He required to fully “disclose” his invention for the public.
To obtain a United States Of America Patent, an inventor must fully disclose exactly what the invention is, the way it operates, and the easiest way known through the inventor to really make it.It is actually this disclosure for the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for doing this is that by promising inventors a monopoly in return for his or her disclosures for the public, inventors will continually make an effort to develop technologies and disclose those to the general public. Providing them with the monopoly allows them to profit financially from the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there could be few incentives to build up new 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 once they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul regarding their invention, and also the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights under a patent will last for a restricted period.Utility patents expire 20 years when they are filed.If this type of was not 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 bulb, we would probably need to pay about $300 to buy a light bulb today.Without competition, there would be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light.Instead, once the Edison light patent expired, everyone was able to manufacture light bulbs, and lots of companies did.The vigorous competition to accomplish just that after expiration of the Edison patent resulted in higher quality, lower costing light bulbs.
Varieties of patents. You can find essentially three varieties of patents which you should know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent relates to inventions that have a “functional” aspect (in other words, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it actually “does” something).Quite simply, the one thing that is different or “special” about the invention should be for any functional purpose.To be eligible for utility patent protection, an invention also must fall within one or more from the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Take into account that virtually any physical, functional invention will fall under at least one of those categories, which means you need not be concerned with which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: consider a “machine” as something which accomplishes an activity because of the interaction of their physical parts, like a can opener, a vehicle engine, a fax machine, etc.It is the combination and interconnection of such physical parts with which our company is concerned and which are protected from the Invent Help.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be looked at as items that accomplish an activity just like a machine, but with no interaction of varied physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may seem to be similar in many instances, you are able to distinguish the two by considering articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic things that normally have no moving parts. A paper clip, for instance is definitely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a job (holding papers together), but is clearly not really a “machine” as it is an easy device which does not rely on the interaction of various parts.
C) Process: an easy method of accomplishing something through a number of steps, each step interacting somehow using a physical element, is known as a “process.” A process can be a new way of manufacturing a known product or can also be a new use for a known product. Board games are typically protected being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions including pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds such as soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so on could be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes are often protected in this way.
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, in the event the invention is really a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might supply the appropriate protection. To avoid infringement, a copier would have to produce a version that will not look “substantially just like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the form and overall look without infringing the design and style patent.
A provisional patent application is a step toward getting a utility patent, where invention might not yet anticipate to get a utility patent. Quite simply, when it seems as though the invention cannot yet obtain a utility patent, the provisional application could be filed within the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority to the invention.As the inventor consistently develop the invention and make further developments which permit a utility patent to get obtained, then this inventor can “convert” the provisional application to a full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for that date when the provisional application was initially filed.
A provisional patent has several benefits:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far the most well known benefit from a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to instantly begin marking the merchandise “patent pending.” This has a time-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen on TV” label which can be put on many products. A product or service bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses an industrial marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Ability to enhance the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has twelve months to “convert” the provisional right into a “full blown” utility application.In that year, the inventor need to try to commercialize the merchandise and assess its potential. If the product appears commercially viable during that year, then your inventor is motivated to convert the provisional application into a utility application.However, unlike a typical utility application which can not be changed in any way, a provisional application may have additional material included in it to improve it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips which were obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization from the product may be implemented and guarded at that time.
C) Establishment of the filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor having a crucial “filing date.” Quite simply, the date that this provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for obtaining a utility patent. When you are certain that your invention is a potential candidate for a utility patent (since 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.” Those two requirements are essentially worried about whether your invention is totally new, and when so, whether there is a substantial distinction between it and similar products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To have a utility patent, you need to initially decide if your invention is “novel”. Quite simply, is your invention new?Are you currently the first person to have thought of it? As an example, should you make application for a patent on the light, it seems like quite clear that you simply would not entitled to a patent, considering that the light will not be a new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your application, would reject it based upon the reality 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 recognized to the general public more than one year before you file a patent application for that invention).
For the invention to be novel with respect to other inventions on the planet (prior art), it has to simply be different in certain minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel over a similar invention.If you were to invent a square light bulb, your invention would sometimes be novel when compared to the Edison bulb (since his was round/elliptical). If the patent office would cite the round Edison bulb against your square one as prior art to exhibit that your invention had not been novel, they could be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which can be just like yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly easy to overcome, since any slight variation fit, size, combination of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, although the invention is novel, it could fail one other requirement stated earlier: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, do not celebrate yet — it really is more difficult to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to get over in the pursuit of a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the sole requirement in order to satisfy, then just about anything conceivable might be patented as long as it differed slightly from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement has to be satisfied right 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 and also the related prior art is probably not “identical” (which means that the invention is novel with respect to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable in the event the differences between it and also the related prior art would be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the actual invention.
This is in actuality the Patent and Trademark Office’s means of subjectively judging the “quality” of your invention. Clearly the PTO has no latitude in judging whether your invention is novel or not — it is more often than not quite evident whether any differences exist between your invention as well as the prior art.On this point there is not any room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is certainly a large amount of room for various opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: differing people, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding whether the invention is truly obvious.
Some common samples of items that are certainly not usually considered significant, and thus which are usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to help make something lighter in weight; changing the size or color; combining pieces of the 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 kinds of prior art which may be used to prevent you from obtaining a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those activities that the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that the invention is not actually novel or even to demonstrate that your invention is obvious. These eight sections could be broken down into an arranged and understandable format composed of two main categories: prior art which is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you will be not the very first inventor); and prior art which goes back before your “filing date” (thus showing that you might have waited very long to submit for a patent).
A) Prior art which extends back before your date of invention: It might seem to make sense that when 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 be the first inventor. Section 102(a) in the patent law specifically describes the things which can be used prior art if 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 usa, just before your date of invention. Even if you have no patent or written documentation showing that your invention was known in the usa, the PTO can still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can show that your invention was generally known to people before your date of invention.
2) Public use in america: Use by others from the invention you are attempting to patent in public places in the United States, just before your date of invention, could be held against your patent application by the PTO. This will make clear sense, since if someone else was publicly making use of the invention before you even conceived of this, you obviously can not be the first and first inventor of it, and you do not deserve to get a patent for this.
3) Patented in the United States or abroad: Any U . S . or foreign patents which issued just before your date of invention and which disclose your invention is going to be used against your patent application by the PTO. For instance, believe 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 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 prior to your date of invention will keep you from acquiring a patent.Again, the reasoning here is when your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you definitely are not the initial inventor (since somebody else looked at it prior to deciding to) and you also usually are not eligible to patent onto it.
B)Prior art which extends back prior to your filing date: As noted above, prior art was defined as everything known prior to your conception from the invention or everything recognized to people multiple year before your filing of the patent application. This means that in lots of circumstances, even when you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will end up unable to obtain a patent into it if it has entered the arena of public knowledge and over one year has passed between that point and your filing of a patent application. The goal of this rule is to encourage people to try 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 kinds of prior art which may be used against you as a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in the usa: When the invention you want to patent was sold or offered available for sale in the usa more than one year prior to deciding to file a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your own invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your own invention on January 1, 2008, and provide it on the market on January 3, 2008, in an effort to raise some funds to apply for a patent. You must file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (twelve months from your day you offered it available for sale).If you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for instance, the PTO will reject your application to be barred as it was offered for sale several year prior to your filing date.This too is the case if someone other than yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you simply conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it available for sale publicly.You simply kept it to yourself.Also believe that on February 1, 2008, another person conceived of the invention and began selling it. This starts your one year clock running!Unless you file a patent on the invention by February 2, 2009, (one year through the date one other person began selling it) then you certainly also will be forever barred from obtaining a patent. Remember that this provision from the law prevents you against acquiring a patent, although there is not any prior art dating back to before your date of conception and also you really are the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), for the reason that the invention was accessible to the general public more than 1 year before your filing date due to another person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin your chances of acquiring a patent even though you are the initial inventor and have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in america: If the invention you wish to Inventhelp Innovation was utilized in the usa by you or another multiple year before your filing of a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your own invention. Typical samples of public use are when you or someone else display and utilize the invention with a trade show or public gathering, on tv, or somewhere else where the public has potential access.The public use do not need to be one that specifically plans to make the public mindful of the invention. Any use which may be potentially accessed from the public will suffice to begin with usually the one year clock running (but a secret use will usually 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 some other printed publication on your part or by another individual, accessible to people in the United States or abroad more than one year before your filing date, will prevent you from getting a patent on the invention.Remember that even a write-up authored by you, regarding your own invention, will start the one-year clock running.So, for instance, in the event you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it, this might start the main one-year clock running.So too would the one-year clock start running for you in case a complete stranger published a printed article about the main topic of your invention.
4) Patented in the usa or abroad: If a U . S . or foreign patent covering your invention issued more than a year prior to your filing date, you will end up barred from getting a patent. Compare this with all the previous section regarding U . S . and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) from the patent law, you might be prohibited from obtaining a patent when the filing date of some other patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we have been discussing here, you cannot get a patent on an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over a year ago, even if your date of invention was prior to the filing date of this patent.