What is a patent? A U . S . 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 certain concept for a limited time. Typically, our government frowns upon any sort of monopolization in commerce, due to the belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. An excellent example is the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years back 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 us government permit a monopoly as a patent? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors to come forward making use of their creations. In doing so, the federal government actually promotes advancements in science and technology.
To begin with, it needs to be clear to you personally just how a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the homeowner from the How Do You Patent An Idea to stop someone else from producing the merchandise or using the process protected by the patent. Think of Thomas Edison along with his most famous patented invention, the light bulb. Along with his patent for the light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent any other person or company from producing, using or selling light bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no person could contest with him inside the light bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in exchange. He necessary 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 actual way it operates, and the most effective way known by the inventor making it.It is actually this disclosure for the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for doing this is the fact by promising inventors a monopoly in turn for their disclosures to the public, inventors will continually make an effort to develop new technologies and disclose those to people. Providing these with the monopoly enables them to profit financially through the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there could be few incentives to build up technologies, because with no patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing that their invention could be stolen when they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul regarding their invention, as well as the public would never benefit.
The grant of rights within patent can last for a limited period.Utility patents expire twenty years once they are filed.If this had not been the case, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there will be serious consequences. For example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for that light bulb, we might probably have to pay about $300 to get a light bulb today.Without competition, there will be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light bulb.Instead, after the Edison light bulb patent expired, everyone was free to manufacture light bulbs, and several companies did.The vigorous competition to do just that after expiration in the I Have An Invention Idea Now What resulted in better quality, lower costing light bulbs.
II. Types of patents
You will 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 which have a “functional” aspect (put simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it actually “does” something).In other words, one thing which is different or “special” regarding the invention must be for any functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention also must fall within a minumum of one from the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Keep in mind that just about any physical, functional invention will fall into at least one of these categories, which means you do not need to be concerned with which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: think of a “machine” as a thing that accomplishes an activity due to the interaction of the physical parts, for instance a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of these physical parts in which we are concerned and which are protected by the patent.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be thought of as things that accomplish a job just like a piece of equipment, but with no interaction of various physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may are most often similar in many instances, you can distinguish both by thinking about articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic things which routinely have no moving parts. A paper clip, for example is surely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes an activity (holding papers together), but is clearly not a “machine” since it is a simple device which fails to 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 regarded as a “process.” A process can be 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 including soap, concrete, paint, plastic, as well as 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, that is protected with a utility patent. In other words, in the event the invention is really a useful object which has a novel shape or overall look, a design patent might supply the appropriate protection. To prevent infringement, a copier would need to generate a version that will not look “substantially similar to the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the design and overall appearance without infringing the design and style patent.
A provisional patent application is actually a step toward obtaining a utility patent, where invention might not anticipate to obtain a utility patent. Put simply, if this seems as though the invention cannot yet get yourself 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 continues to develop the invention and make further developments that allow a utility patent to become obtained, then this inventor can “convert” the provisional application to some 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: The most well-known benefit of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the item “patent pending.” This has a time-proven tremendous commercial value, similar to the “as seen on television” label which is put on many products. A product bearing these two phrases clearly possesses an industrial marketing advantage right in the first place.
B) Capacity 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.During that year, the inventor should try to commercialize the merchandise and assess its potential. If the product appears commercially viable during that year, then the 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 respect, a provisional application may have additional material included in it to improve it upon its conversion within twelve months.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips that were obtained by the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product can be implemented and guarded during those times.
C) Establishment of any filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor having a crucial “filing date.” Put simply, the date the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for the later filed/converted utility patent.
III. Requirements for getting a utility patent. Once you are certain that your invention is really a potential candidate to get a utility patent (because it fits within among the 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 new, and when so, whether there is a substantial difference between it and similar products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To acquire a utility patent, you must initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. Put simply, is the invention new?Are you the initial person to have looked at it? As an example, if you decide to make application for a patent on the light bulb, it appears quite clear that you simply would not be eligible for a patent, since the light bulb will not be a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based upon 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” just before your conception from the invention or everything proven to the general public multiple year before you file a patent application for the invention).
To your invention to get novel with regards to other inventions on earth (prior art), it should 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 really be novel compared to the Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). In the event the patent office were to cite the round Edison light bulb against your square one as prior art to show that your particular invention was not novel, they could be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which can be just like 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, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even although the invention is novel, it might fail another requirement mentioned previously: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, do not celebrate yet — it is more challenging to fulfill the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As mentioned above, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to beat in the pursuit of Inventhelp Corporate Headquarters. Indeed, if novelty were the sole requirement 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 following the novelty question is met. This second requirement is referred to as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states in part 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 if the differences between it as well as the related prior art will be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the actual invention.
This can be in actuality 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 not — it is almost always quite evident whether any differences exist between your invention as well as the prior art.With this point there is absolutely no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is a reasonably bit of room for many different opinions, because the requirement is inherently subjective: different people, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding whether or not the invention is truly obvious.
Some common types of items 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 another similar component, etc.
IV. What exactly 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 can be utilized to keep you from getting a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those ideas that the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your particular invention is not really actually novel or to show that the invention is obvious. These eight sections can be broken down into a structured and understandable format consisting of two main categories: prior art which is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are not the first inventor); and prior art which dates back before your “filing date” (thus showing that you might have waited too long to file for any patent).
A) Prior art which dates back prior to your date of invention: It might manage to make sense 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 since you would not truly function as the first inventor. Section 102(a) of the patent law specifically describes the things which can be utilized as prior art should they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in america: Any evidence that your invention was “known” by others, in the usa, prior to your date of invention. Even if you have no patent or written documentation showing that the 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 proven to the general 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 in the usa, just before your date of invention, can be held against your patent application from the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if someone else was publicly utilizing the invention before you even conceived of this, you obviously can not be the initial and first inventor from it, and you may not should obtain a patent because of it.
3) Patented in the United States or abroad: Any United States 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 through 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 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 acquiring a patent.Again, the reasoning here is that if your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you definitely are certainly not the very first inventor (since someone else considered it before you) and also you usually are not eligible for patent onto it.
B)Prior art which dates back just before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was described as everything known before your conception from the invention or everything proven to the general public multiple year before your filing of a patent application. What this means is that in many circumstances, even even though you were the first one to have conceived/invented something, you may be unable to acquire a patent into it if it has entered the world of public knowledge and more than one year has gone by between that point and your filing of the patent application. The objective of this rule is always to persuade folks to try to get patents on their own inventions as quickly as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) in the patent law defines specifically those varieties of prior art which can be used against you as being a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in the usa: If the invention you intend to patent was sold or offered available for sale in the United States multiple year before you file a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your invention on January 1, 2008, and offer it available for sale on January 3, 2008, in an attempt to raise some funds to apply for a patent. You need to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (1 year from your day you offered it available for sale).In the event you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, as an example, the PTO will reject the application to be barred because it was offered for sale multiple year prior to your filing date.This also 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 for sale publicly.You just kept it to yourself.Also think that on February 1, 2008, somebody else conceived of the invention and began selling it. This starts your twelve months clock running!If you do not file a patent on the invention by February 2, 2009, (1 year from your date one other person began selling it) then you also is going to be forever barred from obtaining a patent. Note that the 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 really are the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), for the reason that the invention was available to the general public for over 1 year before your filing date as a result of another person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you getting a patent even though you happen to be first inventor and possess satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: If the invention you wish to patent was applied in the United States on your part or any other multiple 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 when you or someone else display and utilize the invention with a trade show or public gathering, on television, or somewhere else in which the general public has potential access.The general public use need not be one which specifically promises to create the public conscious of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed through the public will suffice to begin with the main one year clock running (but a secret use will usually not invoke the main one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in the usa or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or any other printed publication on your part or by another individual, offered to the general public in the United States or abroad several year before your filing date, will prevent you from obtaining a patent on the invention.Note that even a write-up authored by you, about your own invention, will start usually the one-year clock running.So, as an example, in the event you detailed your invention in a press ndefzr and mailed it, this could start usually the one-year clock running.So too would usually the one-year clock start running for you personally in case a complete stranger published a printed article about the subject of your invention.
4) Patented in the usa or abroad: If a United States or foreign patent covering your invention issued spanning a year before 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) of the patent law, you might be prohibited from acquiring a patent when the filing date of another patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which our company is discussing here, you cannot get a patent with an invention which was disclosed in another patent issued over a year ago, even if your date of invention was before the filing date of this patent.