What is a patent? A United States Patent is actually a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is a contract where the United States 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, as a result of belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. A good example will be the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years back into the many regional phone companies. The us government, particularly 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 in the form of Inventhelp Patent Referral Services? The government makes an exception to encourage inventors in the future forward making use of their creations. By doing this, the federal government actually promotes advancements in science and technology.
To begin with, it ought to be clear for you exactly how a patent works as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the property owner of the patent to stop other people from producing the item or making use of the process protected by the patent. Consider Thomas Edison along with his most well-known patented invention, the sunshine bulb. Along with his patent for the light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent every other person or company from producing, using or selling bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no one could contend with him within the light bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison had to give something in turn. He required to fully “disclose” his invention to 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 most effective way known by the inventor making it.It is this disclosure for the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is that by promising inventors a monopoly in return for disclosures towards the public, inventors will continually strive to develop new technologies and disclose those to the public. Providing these with the monopoly allows them to profit financially from your invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there could be few incentives to produce new technologies, because with no patent monopoly an inventor’s work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing their invention could be stolen once they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul about their invention, and the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights within a patent can last for a small period.Utility patents expire 20 years after they are filed.If this type of was untrue, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there would be serious consequences. For instance, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for the light bulb, we would probably must pay about $300 to purchase a light bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to boost upon his bulb.Instead, after the Edison bulb patent expired, everyone was able to manufacture light bulbs, and many companies did.The vigorous competition to do that after expiration from the Edison patent ended in better quality, lower costing bulbs.
Varieties of patents. You will find essentially three kinds of patents which you ought to know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent relates to inventions that have a “functional” aspect (quite simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it actually “does” something).Quite simply, the thing that is different or “special” regarding the invention should be for a functional purpose.To be eligible for utility patent protection, an invention should also fall within at least one of the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Keep in mind that virtually any physical, functional invention will fall under at least one of such categories, which means you need not be worried about which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: imagine a “machine” as a thing that accomplishes a job as a result of interaction of their physical parts, like a can opener, a vehicle 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 Inventhelp New Inventions.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be thought of as items that accomplish a job similar to a machine, but minus the interaction of various 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 which normally have no moving parts. A paper clip, for instance is definitely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes an activity (holding papers together), but is clearly not a “machine” because it is an easy device which does not rely on the interaction of varied parts.
C) Process: a way of accomplishing something through several steps, each step interacting in some manner using a physical element, is known as a “process.” A procedure can be a new method of manufacturing a known product or could even be a whole new use for a known product. Board games are typically protected as being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions like pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds like soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so forth may be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes tend to be protected in this fashion.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of your object, as opposed to its “utility” or function, that is protected with a utility patent. In other words, if the invention is actually a useful object which has a novel shape or overall look, a design patent might give you the appropriate protection. To prevent infringement, a copier will have to produce a version that does not look “substantially similar to the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the form and overall appearance without infringing the style patent.
A provisional patent application is a step toward acquiring a utility patent, where the invention might not yet anticipate to get yourself a utility patent. Put simply, when it seems as though the invention cannot yet get a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed within the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority to the invention.As the inventor will continue to develop the invention making further developments which permit a utility patent to get obtained, then your inventor can “convert” the provisional application to your full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for your date when the provisional application was first filed.
A provisional patent has several advantages:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far the most popular benefit from a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the item “patent pending.” It has an occasion-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen on television” label which can be placed on many products. An item bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses a professional marketing advantage from the very beginning.
B) Capability to increase the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has 1 year to “convert” the provisional right into a “full blown” utility application.During that year, the inventor should try to commercialize the product and assess its potential. When the product appears commercially viable in that year, then your inventor is motivated to convert the provisional application right 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 added to it to boost it upon its conversion within 1 year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips which were obtained by the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product may be implemented and guarded during that time.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor using a crucial “filing date.” Quite simply, the date that this provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for getting a utility patent. Once you are certain your invention is really a potential candidate for any utility patent (since it fits within one of the statutory classes), you should then move ahead to assess whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” Both of these requirements are essentially worried about whether your invention is totally new, and if so, whether you will find a substantial difference between it and similar products inside the related field.
A) Novelty: To obtain a utility patent, you have to initially see whether your invention is “novel”. In other words, can be your invention new?Have you been the initial person to get thought of it? For example, if you decide to make application for a patent on the light, it seems like quite clear that you would not be eligible to a patent, considering that the bulb is not really a new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based on the truth that Edison invented the lighting bulb many years ago. In rejecting your patent application, the Patent Office would actually cite the Edison light patent against you as relevant “prior art” (prior art is everything “known” before your conception from the invention or everything known to the public several year before you file a patent application for the invention).
To your invention to get novel regarding 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 more than a similar invention.Should you invent a square light bulb, your invention would sometimes be novel compared to the Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). When the patent office would cite the round Edison bulb against your square one as prior art to exhibit that your particular invention was not novel, they would be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention that is just like yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is extremely very easy to overcome, since any slight variation fit, size, mixture of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even though the invention is novel, it may 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 harder to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to beat in the quest for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only real requirement to fulfill, then almost anything conceivable might be patented as long as it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied right after the novelty question for you is met. This second requirement is called “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states partly that although an invention and the related prior art may not be “identical” (which means the invention is novel with regards to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable if the differences between it and the related prior art will be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the field of 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 otherwise — it is actually almost always quite evident whether any differences exist in between your invention as well as the prior art.About this point there is no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there exists a large amount of room for various opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: different people, including different Examiners in the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding whether the invention is definitely 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 create something much lighter; changing the dimensions or color; combining items of what type commonly found together; substituting one popular component for an additional similar component, etc.
IV. What is considered prior art from the Patent Office?
The patent laws, specifically 35 U.S.C. section 102, outline eight major types of prior art which may be used to prevent you from obtaining a patent. In other words, it defines exactly those activities in which the PTO can cite against you in an attempt to prove that your invention is not really in fact novel or to demonstrate that your invention is obvious. These eight sections may be broken down into an organized and understandable format composed of two main categories: prior art which can be dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you will be not the first inventor); and prior art which goes back before your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited too long to file to get a patent).
A) Prior art which extends back before your date of invention: It could manage to sound right 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 points which can be used as prior art should they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the United States: Any evidence that the invention was “known” by others, in the usa, prior to your date of invention. Even if there is no patent or written documentation showing that your particular invention was known in the United States, the PTO can still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty when they can demonstrate that your invention was generally proven to the public prior to your date of invention.
2) Public use in the usa: Use by others from 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 through the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if a person else was publicly using the invention even before you conceived of it, you obviously should not be the initial 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 before your date of invention and which disclose your invention will be used against your patent application from the PTO. For example, assume 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, U . S . 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 Of America 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 acquiring a patent.Again, the reasoning here is that if your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly are certainly not the initial inventor (since someone else thought of it prior to deciding to) and you also are certainly not entitled to patent onto it.
B)Prior art which goes back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was considered everything known just before your conception in the invention or everything proven to the general public multiple year before your filing of a patent application. Therefore that in numerous circumstances, even when you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will end up unable to get a patent on it if it has entered the world 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 persuade folks to apply for patents on their inventions at the earliest opportunity or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) from 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 United States: In the event the invention you intend to patent was sold or offered for sale in the United States multiple year before you file a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your own invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your own invention on January 1, 2008, and present it on the market 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 through the day you offered it on the market).In the event 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 more than one year before your filing date.This is the case if a person apart from yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you simply 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, someone else conceived of your 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 your date another person began selling it) then you certainly also will be forever barred from obtaining a patent. Note that this provision of the law prevents you from acquiring a patent, although there is no prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you also are indeed the very first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), simply because the invention was available to the 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 obtaining a patent even if you are the initial inventor and also have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: When the invention you wish to Invention Patent was utilized in the United States on your part or another several year before your filing of any patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever getting a patent on the invention. Typical examples of public use are when you or someone else display and make use of the invention with a trade event or public gathering, on television, or somewhere else where the public has potential access.The general public use will not need to be one that specifically plans to make the public conscious of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed through the public will suffice to start the main one year clock running (but a secret use will usually not invoke 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 by you or by someone else, offered to people in america or abroad more than one year before your filing date, will prevent you from getting a patent on your own invention.Remember that even a post published by you, about 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 all out, this might start the main one-year clock running.So too would the main one-year clock start running to suit your needs if a complete stranger published a printed article about the 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 before your filing date, you will be barred from acquiring 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 getting a patent in the event the filing date of some other patent is sooner than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we have been discussing here, you cannot get a patent upon an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over last year, even if your date of invention was prior to the filing date of this patent.