What is a patent? A United States Of America Patent is essentially 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 short time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any kind of monopolization in commerce, as a result of belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. A good example is the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years ago to the many regional phone companies. The us 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 us government permit a monopoly by means of Inventhelp Inventor Stories? The us 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 technology and science.
To start with, it ought to be clear to you personally exactly how a patent works as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the homeowner in the patent to prevent someone else from producing the product or using the process included in the patent. Consider Thomas Edison and his awesome most popular patented invention, the sunshine bulb. Together with his patent for that bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent every other person or company from producing, using or selling lights without his permission. Essentially, no one could compete with him within the light business, and hence he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison needed to give something in return. He necessary to fully “disclose” his invention towards the public.
To have a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose what the invention is, how it operates, and the most effective way known through the inventor to make it.It is actually this disclosure towards the public which entitles the inventor to some monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is the fact that by promising inventors a monopoly in return for their disclosures to the public, inventors will continually strive to develop technologies and disclose those to people. Providing all of them with the monopoly enables them to profit financially through the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there would be few incentives to produce technologies, because without having a patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing that their invention will 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 limited period.Utility patents expire 20 years after they are filed.If this was untrue, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there will be serious consequences. For example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for that bulb, we would probably have to pay about $300 to buy a mild bulb today.Without competition, there would be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light bulb.Instead, when the Edison light patent expired, everyone was able to manufacture light bulbs, and many companies did.The vigorous competition to perform exactly that after expiration in the Edison patent resulted in better quality, lower costing light bulbs.
Kinds of patents. There are essentially three varieties of patents which you ought to know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent applies to inventions which may have a “functional” aspect (put simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it genuinely “does” something).In other words, the thing that is different or “special” regarding the invention must be for a functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention should also fall within a minumum of one in the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Take into account that just about any physical, functional invention will belong to one or more of such categories, which means you will not need to 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 its physical parts, such as a can opener, a car engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of these physical parts with which our company is concerned and which are protected by the How To Pitch An Idea To A Company.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be thought of as items that accomplish a job just like a machine, but without the interaction of varied physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may are most often similar in many cases, you are able to distinguish both by thinking about articles of manufacture as more simplistic items that normally have no moving parts. A paper clip, for example is definitely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a task (holding papers together), but is clearly not really a “machine” because it is a basic device which does not rely on the interaction of varied parts.
C) Process: a way of doing something through several steps, each step interacting in some manner having a physical element, is regarded as a “process.” A procedure could be a new way of manufacturing a known product or could even be a brand new use for any known product. Board games are generally protected being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions such as pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds including soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and the like may 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, which is protected by a utility patent. In other words, when the invention is really a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall appearance, 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 design and overall look without infringing the design and style patent.
A provisional patent application is a step toward obtaining a utility patent, in which the invention may not yet anticipate to get yourself a utility patent. In other words, if this seems as though the invention cannot yet get yourself a utility patent, the provisional application could be filed in the Patent Office to establish the inventor’s priority for the invention.Because the inventor will continue to develop the invention and make further developments which permit a utility patent to get obtained, then your inventor can “convert” the provisional application to some full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for your date once the provisional application was filed.
A provisional patent has several benefits:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far the most well-known advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to instantly begin marking the product “patent pending.” This has a time-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen in the media” label which can be applied to many products. A product bearing both these phrases clearly possesses a professional marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Capability to enhance the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has 1 year to “convert” the provisional into a “full blown” utility application.During that year, the inventor should try to commercialize the item and assess its potential. When the product appears commercially viable during that year, then this inventor is encouraged to convert the provisional application right into a utility application.However, unlike an ordinary utility application which can not be changed in any respect, a provisional application may have additional material added to it to improve it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips that were obtained by the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization in the product can be implemented and protected during that time.
C) Establishment of the 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.
Requirements for obtaining a utility patent. Once you are certain that your invention is a potential candidate for a utility patent (as it fits within one of many statutory classes), you should then move ahead to evaluate whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” Those two requirements are essentially focused on whether your invention is new, and in case so, whether there exists a substantial difference between it and other products inside the related field.
A) Novelty: To obtain a utility patent, you need to initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. Quite simply, is the invention new?Are you currently the very first person to have looked at it? As an example, should you make application for a patent on the light bulb, it seems like quite clear that you simply would not entitled to a patent, since the bulb is not really a new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based 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 patent against you as relevant “prior art” (prior art is everything “known” just before your conception in the invention or everything proven to the general public multiple year before you decide to file a patent application for that invention).
For your invention to get novel with regards to other inventions on earth (prior art), it must just 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, your invention would sometimes be novel compared to the Edison bulb (since his was round/elliptical). If the patent office were to cite the round Edison light against your square one as prior art to demonstrate that the invention had not been novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention that is identical to yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is very very easy to overcome, since any slight variation in shape, size, mixture of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, however the invention is novel, it may fail another requirement mentioned above: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, tend not to celebrate yet — it is actually more challenging to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As stated before, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to beat within the quest for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the sole requirement in order to satisfy, then just about anything conceivable could be patented provided that it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied after the novelty question is met. This second requirement is known as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states in part that although an invention as well as the related prior art may not be “identical” (which means the invention is novel with respect to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable if the differences between it as well as the related prior art could be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the area of 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 almost always quite evident whether any differences exist involving the invention as well as the prior art.On this point there is absolutely no 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, could have different opinions regarding whether the invention is definitely obvious.
Some common samples of things that are not usually considered significant, and so which can be usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to make something lighter in weight; changing the size and style or color; combining pieces of the type commonly found together; substituting one well known component for the next similar component, etc.
IV. Precisely what is considered prior art from the Patent Office?
The patent laws, specifically 35 U.S.C. section 102, outline eight major kinds of prior art which could be used to stop you from acquiring a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those things in which the PTO can cite against you in an attempt to prove that the invention is not in reality novel or to demonstrate that your invention is obvious. These eight sections may be divided 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 very first inventor); and prior art which goes back before your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited too long to file for any patent).
A) Prior art which dates back prior to your date of invention: It would manage to seem sensible that in case prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you must not be entitled to obtain a patent on that invention because you would not truly be the first inventor. Section 102(a) from the patent law specifically describes the things which can be used prior art should 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 United States, prior to your date of invention. Even when there is no patent or written documentation showing that your particular invention was known in the United States, the PTO may still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty when they can demonstrate that your invention was generally proven to the general public prior to your date of invention.
2) Public use in america: Use by others from the invention you are trying to patent in public in america, before your date of invention, can be held against your patent application from the PTO. This should make clear sense, since if someone else was publicly using the invention before you even conceived from it, you obviously should not be the first and first inventor of this, and you may not need to obtain a patent for it.
3) Patented in the usa or abroad: Any United States or foreign patents which issued just before your date of invention and which disclose your invention will likely be used against your patent application from the PTO. For example, 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 Of America 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 U . S . or foreignprinted publications (like books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published prior to your date of invention will stop you from acquiring a patent.Again, the reasoning here is when your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly are not the initial inventor (since another person considered it before you decide to) and you also are certainly not entitled to patent on it.
B)Prior art which goes 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 the general public several year before your filing of any patent application. This means that in many circumstances, even though you were the first one to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to acquire a patent on it when it has entered the world of public knowledge and over 1 year has gone by between that time along with your filing of the patent application. The goal of this rule is to persuade folks to apply for patents on the inventions as soon as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) from the patent law defines specifically those kinds of prior art which can be used against you being a “one-year bar” as follows:
1) Commercial activity in the usa: In the event the invention you want to patent was sold or offered available for sale in america more than one year prior to deciding to file a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your invention on January 1, 2008, and present it available for sale on January 3, 2008, in an attempt to raise some funds to get a patent. You have to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (twelve months from your day you offered it available for sale).In the event you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for example, the PTO will reject the application as being barred because it was offered available for sale several year just before your filing date.This also will be the case if someone other than yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still which you conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it on the market publicly.You merely kept it to yourself.Also believe that on February 1, 2008, someone else conceived of the invention and began selling it. This starts your one year clock running!Should you not file a patent on your own invention by February 2, 2009, (1 year through the date one other person began selling it) then you definitely also is going to be forever barred from acquiring a patent. Remember that this provision in the law prevents you against acquiring a patent, even though there is no prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you also really are the very first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), simply because the invention was available to the public for more than one year before your filing date due to another person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin your chances of getting a patent even though you are the first inventor and possess satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: In the event the invention you wish to Inventhelp Success Stories was applied in america by you or any other multiple year before your filing of a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on the invention. Typical types of public use are once you or another person display and utilize the invention in a trade exhibition or public gathering, on television, or somewhere else where most people has potential access.The general public use do not need to be one which specifically plans to have the public aware of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed by the public will suffice to begin usually the one year clock running (but a secret use will usually not invoke usually the one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in the United States or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or some other printed publication on your part or by someone else, accessible to the general public in america or abroad more than one year before your filing date, will prevent you from obtaining a patent on the invention.Note that even an article authored by you, regarding your own invention, will start usually the one-year clock running.So, for example, if you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it out, this might start the one-year clock running.So too would the one-year clock start running for you personally if a complete stranger published a printed article about the subject of your invention.
4) Patented in the usa or abroad: In case a United States or foreign patent covering your invention issued more than 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) of the patent law, you might be prohibited from acquiring a patent if the filing date of some other patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we are discussing here, you can not get a patent with an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over last year, even when your date of invention was ahead of the filing date of the patent.