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 in which the United States Of America government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a certain concept for a limited time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any kind of monopolization in commerce, due to the belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. An excellent example will be the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years back to the many regional phone companies. The 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 federal government permit a monopoly by means of Inventions Ideas? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors to come forward using their creations. In doing so, the federal government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
First of all, it ought to be clear to you precisely how a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the homeowner in the patent to prevent other people from producing the product or using the process covered by the patent. Think of Thomas Edison along with his most famous patented invention, the light bulb. Together with his patent for that light, Thomas Edison could prevent every other person or company from producing, using or selling light bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no person could contend with him inside the bulb business, and hence he possessed a monopoly.
However, so that you can receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison had to give something in return. He required to fully “disclose” his invention for the public.
To acquire a United States Of America Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, the way it operates, and the easiest way known from the inventor to make it.It is actually this disclosure for the public which entitles the inventor to some 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 attempt to develop new technologies and disclose those to the general public. Providing all of them with the monopoly allows them to profit financially from your invention. Without this “tradeoff,” there could be few incentives to produce new technologies, because with no patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing that their invention could be stolen whenever they attempt to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul with regards to their invention, and the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights within a patent will last for a restricted period.Utility patents expire 20 years when they are filed.If the was untrue, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there will be serious consequences. For example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for your light bulb, we would probably have to pay about $300 to get an easy bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light bulb.Instead, after the Edison light bulb patent expired, everyone was liberated to manufacture light bulbs, and lots of companies did.The vigorous competition to accomplish that after expiration from the Edison patent led to higher quality, lower costing lights.
Types of patents. There are essentially three types of patents which you ought to know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent pertains to inventions which have a “functional” aspect (quite simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it genuinely “does” something).Quite simply, one thing that is different or “special” regarding the invention must be for a 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 almost any physical, functional invention will fall under at least one of these 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 task because of the interaction of their physical parts, like a can opener, a vehicle engine, a fax machine, etc.This is the combination and interconnection of those physical parts with which our company is concerned and which can be protected through the Inventhelp Commercials.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be regarded as things which accomplish a task similar to a machine, but without the interaction of numerous physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may appear to be similar in many instances, you can distinguish the 2 by considering articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic items that routinely have no moving parts. A paper clip, for instance is surely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a task (holding papers together), but is clearly not a “machine” because it is an easy device which will not rely on the interaction of varied parts.
C) Process: an easy method of doing something through a number of steps, each step interacting in some way with 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 brand new use for any known product. Board games are usually protected being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions such as pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds including soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so forth can be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes are often protected in this way.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of your object, rather than its “utility” or function, which is protected by a utility patent. Put simply, when the invention is really a useful object which has a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might give you the appropriate protection. To avoid infringement, a copier will have to produce a version that fails to look “substantially similar to the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the design and overall appearance without infringing the design patent.
A provisional patent application is really a step toward getting a utility patent, where invention might not exactly yet be ready to obtain a utility patent. Quite simply, if it seems like the invention cannot yet obtain a utility patent, the provisional application might be filed in the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority to the invention.Because the inventor consistently develop the invention making further developments which 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 your date if the provisional application was filed.
A provisional patent has several advantages:
A) Patent Pending Status: Probably the most well known advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to instantly begin marking the item “patent pending.” It has a period-proven tremendous commercial value, similar to the “as seen on television” label which can be placed on 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 one 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. If the product appears commercially viable in that year, then this inventor is asked to convert the provisional application into a utility application.However, unlike an ordinary utility application which should not be changed by any means, a provisional application might have additional material put into it to improve it upon its conversion within 1 year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips that were obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization in the product may be implemented and protected during those times.
C) Establishment of a 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, for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for getting a utility patent. When you are certain that your invention is really a potential candidate for any utility patent (because it fits within among the statutory classes), you should then move ahead to analyze whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” Both of these requirements are essentially concerned with whether your invention is completely new, and if so, whether you will find a substantial difference between it and similar products inside the related field.
A) Novelty: To have a utility patent, you need to initially decide if your invention is “novel”. In other words, is your invention new?Are you currently the first person to possess looked at it? For instance, if you were to obtain a patent on the light, it seems like quite clear that you simply would not entitled to a patent, since the light will not be a whole new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your application, would reject it dependant on the fact that Edison invented the lighting 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” before your conception in the invention or everything recognized to the general public multiple year before you file a patent application for that invention).
For your invention to become novel with respect 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 spanning a similar invention.If you were to invent a square bulb, your invention would actually be novel compared to the Edison light (since his was round/elliptical). When the patent office were to cite the round Edison light against your square one as prior art to show that your invention had not been novel, they would be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which is identical to yours in every single way your invention lacks novelty and is also not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is very very easy to overcome, since any slight variation in shape, size, combination of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, although the invention is novel, it may fail the other requirement mentioned previously: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, do not celebrate yet — it is actually more difficult to meet the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As stated before, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to beat inside the search for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only real requirement in order to satisfy, then just about anything conceivable may be patented so long as it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a much more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied right after the novelty question is met. This second requirement is called “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states to some extent that although an invention as well as the related prior art is probably not “identical” (which means that 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 would be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the particular invention.
This is in fact 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 not — it is typically quite evident whether any differences exist between your invention and also the prior art.About this point there is not any room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is quite a bit of room for many different opinions, considering that the requirement is inherently subjective: each person, including different Examiners at the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding if 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 and style or color; combining items of the type commonly found together; substituting one well-known 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 varieties of prior art which can be used to stop you from acquiring a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those activities which the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your particular invention is not in fact novel or even to show that your invention is obvious. These eight sections can be broken down into an organized and understandable format composed of two main categories: prior art that is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you will be not the very first inventor); and prior art which dates back prior to your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited very long to submit to get a patent).
A) Prior art which goes back just before your date of invention: It would appear to seem sensible that if prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you must not be entitled to have a patent on that invention as you would not truly be the first inventor. Section 102(a) from the patent law specifically describes those 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 particular 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 might still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can demonstrate that your invention was generally known to the general public just before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the usa: Use by others from the invention you are trying to patent in public areas in the usa, before your date of invention, can 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 even before you conceived of this, you obviously cannot be the initial and first inventor of this, and you may not should obtain a patent for this.
3) Patented in the United States or abroad: Any United States Of America or foreign patents which issued before your date of invention and which disclose your invention will be used against your patent application by the PTO. As an example, believe that you invent a lobster de-shelling tool on June 1, 2007.The PTO are able to use any patents which disclose an identical 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 Of America 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 when your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly usually are not the very first inventor (since another person thought of it before you decide to) and also you are not eligible to patent into it.
B)Prior art which extends back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was considered everything known before your conception from the invention or everything recognized to people multiple year before your filing of the patent application. Therefore that in many circumstances, even when you were the first one to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to acquire a patent into it if this has entered the realm of public knowledge and over twelve months has gone by between that point and your filing of a patent application. The purpose of this rule would be to persuade folks to apply for patents on the inventions at the earliest opportunity 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 being a “one-year bar” as follows:
1) Commercial activity in the usa: If the invention you intend to patent was sold or offered available for sale in the usa multiple year prior to deciding to file a patent application, then you are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your invention on January 1, 2008, and provide it on the market on January 3, 2008, in an attempt to raise some funds to get a patent. You need to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (twelve months from the day you offered it on the market).Should you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for instance, the PTO will reject your application for being barred as it was offered for sale several year just before your filing date.This 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 on the market publicly.You merely kept it to yourself.Also assume that on February 1, 2008, another person conceived of the invention and began selling it. This starts your one year clock running!If you do not file a patent on your own invention by February 2, 2009, (one year through the date the other person began selling it) then you also will likely be forever barred from acquiring a patent. Be aware that this provision in the law prevents you against acquiring a patent, despite the fact that there is not any prior art going back to before your date of conception and you are indeed the first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), for the reason that the invention was offered to the general public for over twelve months before your filing date because of another person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin your odds of obtaining a patent even when you are the initial inventor and have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the usa: In the event the invention you want to Inventhelp Innovation was used in america on your part or another more than one year before your filing of the patent application, then you are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on your invention. Typical examples of public use are once you or someone else display and utilize the invention with a trade show or public gathering, on tv, or somewhere else where the general public has potential access.The general public use need not be one which specifically promises to have the public mindful of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed from 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 the usa or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or other printed publication on your part or by someone else, available to people in the United States or abroad multiple year before your filing date, will prevent you from getting a patent on the invention.Be aware that even a write-up authored by you, concerning your own invention, begins the main one-year clock running.So, as an example, if you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it all out, this might start the one-year clock running.So too would the one-year clock start running for you personally when a complete stranger published a printed article about the subject of your invention.
4) Patented in the usa or abroad: In case a U . S . or foreign patent covering your invention issued over a year before your filing date, you will be barred from getting a patent. Compare this with the previous section regarding United States Of America and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) in the patent law, you are prohibited from acquiring a patent in the event the filing date of another patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we have been discussing here, you can not get yourself a patent on an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over this past year, even though your date of invention was before the filing date of that patent.