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 U . S . government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a particular concept for a very limited time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any sort of monopolization in commerce, because of the belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. A great example will be the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years ago in to the many regional phone companies. The us 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 on the telephone industry.
Why, then, would the us government permit a monopoly by means of How To Start An Invention? 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 needs to be clear for you exactly how a patent works as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the homeowner from the patent to stop anyone else from producing the product or using the process covered by the patent. Think of Thomas Edison and his most popular patented invention, the sunshine bulb. Along 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 one could compete with him in the bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, to be able to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison needed to give something in exchange. He needed to fully “disclose” his invention for the public.
To acquire a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose exactly what the invention is, the actual way it operates, and the easiest way known through the inventor to really make it.It really is this disclosure to the public which entitles the inventor to your 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 attempt to develop new technologies and disclose them to the public. Providing these with the monopoly allows them to profit financially from the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to build up technologies, because without a patent monopoly an inventor’s work will bring him no financial reward.Fearing that their invention could be stolen whenever they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul regarding their invention, and also the public would never benefit.
The grant of rights under a patent will last for a small period.Utility patents expire two decades once they are filed.If the was incorrect, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there will be serious consequences. For instance, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for the bulb, we might probably have to pay about $300 to purchase a light bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to enhance upon his light bulb.Instead, once the Edison light bulb patent expired, everyone was liberated to manufacture light bulbs, and lots of companies did.The vigorous competition to perform just that after expiration in the Edison patent resulted in higher quality, lower costing lights.
Kinds of patents. You can find essentially three types of patents which you should be aware of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent applies to inventions that have a “functional” aspect (quite simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it genuinely “does” something).In other words, the thing which is different or “special” concerning the invention has to be for any functional purpose.To be eligible for utility patent protection, an invention must also fall within at least one in the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Remember that almost any physical, functional invention will belong to a minumum of one of such categories, so you need not be worried about which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: think of a “machine” as something which accomplishes a job because of the interaction of the physical parts, such as a can opener, a vehicle engine, a fax machine, etc.It is the combination and interconnection of those physical parts that our company is concerned and which are protected from the Getting A Patent.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” needs to be thought of as things that accomplish an activity just like a machine, but without the interaction of numerous physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may seem to be similar in many instances, you can distinguish the 2 by considering articles of manufacture as more simplistic things which routinely have no moving parts. A paper clip, for example 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 fails to rely on the interaction of various parts.
C) Process: a means of accomplishing something through one or more steps, each step interacting in some way using a physical element, is actually a “process.” A process could be a new approach to manufacturing a known product or could even be a new use for a known product. Board games are usually protected as a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions including pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds like soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so on may be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes are often protected in this manner.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of an object, rather than its “utility” or function, which can be protected by a utility patent. Quite simply, if the invention is really a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall look, a design patent might supply the appropriate protection. To avoid infringement, a copier would have to generate a version that will not look “substantially like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the form and overall appearance without infringing the style patent.
A provisional patent application is a step toward obtaining a utility patent, where the invention may not yet be ready to get yourself a utility patent. Quite simply, if this seems as though the invention cannot yet obtain a utility patent, the provisional application could be filed within the Patent Office to establish the inventor’s priority for the invention.Because the inventor continues to develop the invention and make further developments which allow a utility patent to become obtained, then this inventor can “convert” the provisional application to a full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for the date once the provisional application was first filed.
A provisional patent has several advantages:
A) Patent Pending Status: The most well known benefit from a Provisional Patent Application is it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the item “patent pending.” This has a time-proven tremendous commercial value, like the “as seen in the media” label which is put on many products. An item bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses a commercial marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Capacity to enhance the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has twelve months to “convert” the provisional in to a “full blown” utility application.During that year, the inventor need to commercialize the product and assess its potential. If the product appears commercially viable during that year, then the inventor is encouraged to convert the provisional application right into a utility application.However, unlike an ordinary utility application which should not be changed in any respect, a provisional application might have additional material put into it to enhance it upon its conversion within 1 year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips that had been obtained through the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization from the product could be implemented and guarded during those times.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor using a crucial “filing date.” Quite simply, the date the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for acquiring a utility patent. Once you are certain that your invention is actually a potential candidate for a utility patent (as it fits within one of the statutory classes), you need to 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 new, and if so, whether there exists a substantial distinction between it and similar products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To acquire a utility patent, you have to initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. Quite simply, is your invention new?Are you currently the first person to possess looked at it? For example, if you decide to apply for a patent on the bulb, it seems quite clear that you would not really eligible to a patent, since the light will not be a new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your application, would reject it based on the reality that Edison invented the light 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” before your conception from the invention or everything known to people more than one year prior to deciding to file a patent application for that invention).
For the invention to be novel with respect to other inventions on the planet (prior art), it should 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 light bulb, your invention would really be novel compared to the Edison light (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 was not 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 it is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is very easy to overcome, since any slight variation in shape, size, mixture of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, although the invention is novel, it might fail another requirement stated earlier: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, tend not to celebrate yet — it is more difficult to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to get over inside the pursuit of a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the sole requirement in order to satisfy, then almost anything conceivable could be patented so long as it differed slightly from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a much more difficult, complex requirement has to be satisfied after 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 is probably not “identical” (which means the invention is novel with respect to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable when 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 really is in actuality the Patent and Trademark Office’s means of subjectively judging the “quality” of an invention. Clearly the PTO has no latitude in judging whether your invention is novel or not — it really is typically quite evident whether any differences exist involving the invention as well as the prior art.With this point there is absolutely no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is certainly quite a bit of room for various opinions, considering that the requirement is inherently subjective: each person, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, will have different opinions regarding if the invention is definitely obvious.
Some common examples of items that usually are not usually considered significant, and thus which are usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to help make something lighter in weight; changing the dimensions or color; combining pieces of the type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for an additional similar component, etc.
IV. What exactly is considered prior art by the Patent Office?
The patent laws, specifically 35 U.S.C. section 102, outline eight major varieties of prior art which could be used to stop you from acquiring a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those ideas that the PTO can cite against you in an attempt to prove that the invention is not really in fact novel or even to demonstrate that your invention is obvious. These eight sections may be split up into an arranged and understandable format composed of two main categories: prior art which can be dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are currently not the first inventor); and prior art which extends back just before your “filing date” (thus showing that you might have waited very long to submit for a patent).
A) Prior art which dates back just before your date of invention: It could manage to sound right that if prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you must not be entitled to acquire a patent on that invention as you would not truly be the first inventor. Section 102(a) from 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 america: Any evidence that the invention was “known” by others, in america, prior to your date of invention. Even if there is no patent or written documentation showing that your particular invention was known in the usa, the PTO can still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty when they can reveal that your invention was generally known to the general public before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the United States: Use by others from the invention you are attempting to patent in public in the usa, just before your date of invention, could be held against your patent application from the PTO. This will make clear sense, since if somebody else was publicly using the invention before you even conceived of this, you obviously cannot be the first and first inventor from it, and you do not need to obtain a patent for this.
3) Patented in america 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. As an example, assume that you invent a lobster de-shelling tool on June 1, 2007.The PTO may 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 or abroad: Any United States Of America 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 prevent 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 first inventor (since somebody else considered it before you decide to) and you also usually are not eligible for patent on it.
B)Prior art which extends back prior to your filing date: As noted above, prior art was defined as everything known before your conception in the invention or everything known to the public more than one year before your filing of a patent application. What this means is that in many circumstances, even if you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you may be unable to acquire a patent on it if this has entered the realm of public knowledge and more than 1 year has gone by between that time along with your filing of any patent application. The objective of this rule is to encourage people to apply for patents on the inventions as quickly as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) of the patent law defines specifically those kinds of prior art which is often used against you as a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in america: When the invention you wish to patent was sold or offered available for sale in america more than one year before you decide 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 for sale on January 3, 2008, in an effort 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 your 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 as it was offered available for sale several year prior to your filing date.This would be the case if someone apart from yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you simply conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it on the market publicly.You just kept it to yourself.Also assume that on February 1, 2008, someone else conceived of your own invention and began selling it. This starts your 1 year clock running!Unless you file a patent on your invention by February 2, 2009, (twelve months through the date the other person began selling it) then you also is going to be forever barred from acquiring a patent. Remember that this provision in the law prevents you from getting a patent, despite the fact that there is no prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you also truly are the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was available to people more than twelve months before your filing date because of another person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you acquiring a patent even when you are the initial inventor and possess satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: If the invention you intend to How To Get A Patent For An Idea was applied in the usa by you or another several year before your filing of any patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on your invention. Typical samples of public use are whenever you or someone else display and use the invention at a trade exhibition or public gathering, on tv, or elsewhere where most people has potential access.People use need not be one that specifically promises to create the public aware of the invention. Any use which may be potentially accessed by the public will suffice to begin with 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 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 the invention.Note that even a post authored by you, about your own invention, will start the main one-year clock running.So, for example, if you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it, this might start usually the one-year clock running.So too would usually 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: When a United States or foreign patent covering your invention issued over a year prior to your filing date, you will be barred from obtaining a patent. Compare this with all the previous section regarding United States and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) from the patent law, you might be prohibited from getting a patent if the filing date of some other patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which our company is discussing here, you can not get yourself a patent upon an invention which had been disclosed in another patent issued over this past year, even if your date of invention was prior to the filing date of this patent.