What is a patent? A United States Patent is actually a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is acontract where the United States Of America government expressly permits someone or company to monopolize a specific concept for a short time. Typically, our government frowns upon any kind 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 years ago into the many regional phone companies. The government, in particular the Justice Department (the governmental agency which prosecutes monopoly or “antitrust” violations), considered 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 as a patent? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors to come forward making use of their creations. In doing so, the government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To begin with, it needs to be clear for you just just how a patent acts as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the owner in the Market An Invention Idea to stop other people from producing the merchandise or making use of the process protected by the patent. Think about Thomas Edison and his awesome most famous patented invention, the light bulb. With his patent for the light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent some other person or company from producing, using or selling light bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no person could contend with him inside the light bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison had to give something in exchange. He necessary to fully “disclose” his invention towards the public. To acquire a United States Of America Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, how it operates, and the best way known from the inventor making it.It is this disclosure towards the public which entitles the inventor to your monopoly.The logic for doing this is that by promising inventors a monopoly in exchange for disclosures to the public, inventors will continually attempt to develop new technologies and disclose those to the public. Providing all of them with the monopoly enables them to profit financially through the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to produce new technologies, because with no patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work will bring him no financial reward.Fearing that their invention will be stolen once they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul regarding their invention, and the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights within patent will last for a limited period.Utility patents expire twenty years after they are filed.If this type of 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 your light bulb, we may probably need 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, when the Edison light bulb patent expired, everybody was able to manufacture light bulbs, and many companies did.The vigorous competition to do just that after expiration in the How To Apply For A Patent With Inventhelp led to higher quality, lower costing light bulbs.
II. Varieties of patents
You will find essentially three kinds of patents which you should be aware of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent applies to inventions which may have a “functional” aspect (in other words, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it genuinely “does” something).Quite simply, one thing which can be different or “special” about the invention has to be to get a functional purpose.To be eligible for utility patent protection, an invention should also fall within at least 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 those categories, so that you need not be concerned with which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: think of a “machine” as something which accomplishes a task due to the interaction of its physical parts, like a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of these physical parts that our company is concerned and that are protected from the patent.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” needs to be thought of as items that accomplish an activity just like a unit, but without the interaction of numerous physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may are most often similar in many instances, you can distinguish both by thinking of articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic items that typically 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 really a “machine” as it is a basic device which will not rely on the interaction of various parts.
C) Process: an easy method of doing something through one or more steps, each step interacting in some manner with a physical element, is actually a “process.” A procedure can become a new method of manufacturing a known product or can even be a new use to get a known product. Board games are generally protected as being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions like pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds such as soap, concrete, paint, plastic, as well as the like can be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes tend to be protected in this way.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of the object, instead of its “utility” or function, which is protected by a utility patent. Put simply, when the invention is actually 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 would need to generate a version that does not look “substantially like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the shape and overall look without infringing the design and style patent.
A provisional patent application is actually a step toward obtaining a utility patent, in which the invention might not even be ready to obtain a utility patent. Put simply, if it seems like the invention cannot yet get a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed inside the Patent Office to determine the inventor’s priority to the invention.As the inventor consistently develop the invention making further developments which permit 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 when the provisional application was first filed.
A provisional patent has several benefits:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far the most well-known benefit of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the product “patent pending.” It has an occasion-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen on TV” label that is placed on many products. An item bearing both these phrases clearly possesses a commercial marketing advantage right in the first place.
B) Capability to increase the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has 1 year to “convert” the provisional in to a “full blown” utility application.In that year, the inventor need to try to commercialize the merchandise and assess its potential. When the product appears commercially viable during that year, then your inventor is motivated to convert the provisional application right into a utility application.However, unlike an ordinary utility application which should not be changed by any means, a provisional application may have additional material put into it to boost it upon its conversion within 1 year.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips which were obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization in the product can be implemented and protected during those times.
C) Establishment of any filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor using a crucial “filing date.” In other words, the date that the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for that later filed/converted utility patent.
III. Requirements for acquiring a utility patent. When you are certain your invention is really a potential candidate for any utility patent (as it fits within one of many statutory classes), you should then move ahead to analyze whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” These 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 within the related field.
A) Novelty: To have a utility patent, you have to initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. Put simply, is the invention new?Are you the initial person to possess looked at it? For instance, if you decide to make application for a patent on the light bulb, it appears quite clear which you would not really entitled to a patent, since the light bulb is not a whole new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based upon the fact that Edison invented the light bulb many years 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 in the invention or everything recognized to the general public multiple year before you file a patent application for your invention).
For the invention to become novel with respect to other inventions in the world (prior art), it should simply be different in a few 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 really be novel when compared to Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). If the patent office would cite the round Edison light bulb against your square one as prior art to show that the invention had not been novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which is identical to yours in each and every way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is very easy to overcome, since any slight variation in shape, size, combination of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even although the invention is novel, it might fail the other requirement stated earlier: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, usually do not celebrate yet — it is actually more challenging to meet the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As mentioned above, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to beat inside the search for Invent Help. Indeed, if novelty were the only requirement to fulfill, then just about anything conceivable may be patented as long as it differed slightly from all of previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied following the novelty question for you is met. This second requirement is known as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states to some extent that although an invention as well as the related prior art might not “identical” (which means that the invention is novel with regards to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable in the event the differences between it as well as the related prior art will be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the area of the actual invention.
This really is 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 and also the prior art.About this point there is not any room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is a reasonably bit of room for various opinions, considering that the requirement is inherently subjective: differing people, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding if the invention is really obvious.
Some common samples of things that are not usually considered significant, and therefore which can be usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to make something lighter in weight; changing the dimensions or color; combining pieces of the type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for the next 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 employed to prevent you from getting a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those things that the PTO can cite against you so as to prove that your particular invention will not be in fact novel or show that the invention is obvious. These eight sections can be broken down into a structured 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 dates back just before your “filing date” (thus showing that you might have waited too long to file for a patent).
A) Prior art which dates back before your date of invention: It would appear to sound right that when prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you should not be entitled to have a patent on that invention because you would not truly become the first inventor. Section 102(a) of the patent law specifically describes the points which can be used as prior art if they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the usa: Any evidence that your invention was “known” by others, in america, before your date of invention. Even when there is no patent or written documentation showing that your invention was known in the United States, the PTO may still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can show that your invention was generally recognized to people before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the United States: Use by others of the invention you are trying to patent in public in the United States, prior to your date of invention, can take place against your patent application by the PTO. This ought to 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 original and first inventor of it, and you do not need to get a patent for this.
3) Patented in the usa or abroad: Any United States Of America or foreign patents which issued prior to your date of invention and which disclose your invention is going to be used against your patent application from 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, U . S . 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 (such as 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 that if your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly are not the initial inventor (since someone else looked at it before you) and you are certainly not eligible for patent on it.
B)Prior art which dates back prior to your filing date: As noted above, prior art was considered everything known prior to your conception of the invention or everything known to people multiple year before your filing of any patent application. Therefore that in many circumstances, even although you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will end up unable to get a patent onto it when it has entered the arena of public knowledge and over 1 year has passed between that point along with your filing of any patent application. The purpose of this rule is always to persuade folks to apply for patents on their own inventions as quickly as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) of the patent law defines specifically those varieties of prior art which can be utilized against you being 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 United States several year before you file a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever getting a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of the invention on January 1, 2008, and offer it on the market on January 3, 2008, in an attempt to raise some funds to try to get a patent. You need to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (one year from the day you offered it available for sale).Should you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, as an example, the PTO will reject the application for being barred since it was offered on the market more than one year just before your filing date.This would be 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 on the market publicly.You just kept it to yourself.Also believe that on February 1, 2008, another person conceived of your invention and began selling it. This starts your twelve months clock running!Unless you file a patent on the invention by February 2, 2009, (twelve months through the date one other person began selling it) then you definitely also will be forever barred from getting a patent. Note that this provision of the law prevents you against acquiring a patent, even though there is not any prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you are indeed the very first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was available to people for more than one year before your filing date as a result of one other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you acquiring a patent even though you are the first inventor and have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: If the invention you want to patent was applied in america by you or any other several year before your filing of any patent application, then you are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your own invention. Typical types of public use are once you or another person display and use the invention with a trade show or public gathering, on television, or elsewhere in which the general public has potential access.People use do not need to be one which specifically intends to create the public conscious of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed by the public will suffice to begin with the one year clock running (but a secret use will often not invoke 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 another person, accessible to the general public in the usa or abroad multiple year before your filing date, will stop you from obtaining a patent on your own invention.Note that even a write-up authored by you, regarding your own invention, begins usually the one-year clock running.So, for instance, should you detailed your invention in a press ndefzr and mailed it out, this could start the main one-year clock running.So too would usually the one-year clock start running to suit your needs when a complete stranger published a printed article about the subject of your invention.
4) Patented in the United States or abroad: When a United States or foreign patent covering your invention issued spanning a year prior to your filing date, you will be barred from acquiring a patent. Compare this with all the previous section regarding United States Of America and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) of the patent law, you are prohibited from getting a patent if the filing date of another patent is sooner than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we are discussing here, you are unable to get yourself a patent upon an invention which had been disclosed in another patent issued over this past year, even should your date of invention was before the filing date of that patent.