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 short time. Typically, our government frowns upon any type of monopolization in commerce, due to the belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. A great example is the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some in the past into the many regional phone companies. The 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 government permit a monopoly as a patent? The us government makes an exception to encourage inventors in the future forward with their creations. In doing so, the federal government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
First of all, it needs to be clear to you personally just just how a patent works as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the owner from the Patent Your Idea to avoid someone else from producing the product or using the process included in the patent. Think about Thomas Edison along with his most popular patented invention, the light bulb. Together 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, nobody could contest 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 turn. He necessary to fully “disclose” his invention for the public. To have a U . S . Patent, an inventor must fully disclose what the invention is, the way it operates, and the most effective way known through the inventor to make it.It is this disclosure towards the public which entitles the inventor to some monopoly.The logic for accomplishing this is the fact by promising inventors a monopoly in return for disclosures to the public, inventors will continually strive to develop new technologies and disclose those to people. Providing all of them with the monopoly enables them to profit financially through the invention. Without this “tradeoff,” there could be few incentives to build up technologies, because without a patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work will bring him no financial reward.Fearing that the invention would be stolen once they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul regarding their invention, as well as the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights within patent will last for a limited period.Utility patents expire 20 years when they are filed.If the had not been the case, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there could be serious consequences. As an example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for your light bulb, we may probably need to pay about $300 to purchase a light bulb today.Without competition, there will be little incentive for Edison to boost upon his light bulb.Instead, once the Edison light bulb patent expired, everybody was able to manufacture light bulbs, and several companies did.The vigorous competition to accomplish just that after expiration from the Inventhelp Technology led to higher quality, lower costing light bulbs.
II. Types of patents
There are essentially three kinds 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 actually “does” something).In other words, one thing that is different or “special” about the invention should be for a functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention must also fall within at least one of 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 such categories, so that you need not be concerned with which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: think of a “machine” as a thing that accomplishes an activity because of the interaction of its physical parts, for instance a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.This is the combination and interconnection of such physical parts in which we are concerned and that are protected through the patent.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be looked at as items that accomplish a task just like a machine, but minus the interaction of varied physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may appear to be similar in many cases, you can distinguish the two by thinking about articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic things which normally have no moving parts. A paper clip, as an example is surely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes an activity (holding papers together), but is clearly not just a “machine” as it is a simple device which will not rely on the interaction of numerous parts.
C) Process: a means of accomplishing something through a number of steps, each step interacting somehow having a physical element, is known as a “process.” A process can be considered a new method of manufacturing a known product or can even become a new use for any known product. Board games are generally protected as being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions including pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds including soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and also the like 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, as opposed to its “utility” or function, that is protected by a utility patent. In other words, if the invention is actually a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might give you the appropriate protection. To avoid infringement, a copier will have to create a version that will not look “substantially similar to the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the form and overall appearance without infringing the style patent.
A provisional patent application is a step toward getting a utility patent, in which the invention might not yet be ready to get 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 build the inventor’s priority to the invention.Because the inventor will continue to develop the invention to make further developments which permit a utility patent to get obtained, then this inventor can “convert” the provisional application to some full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for your date when the provisional application was first filed.
A provisional patent has several positive aspects:
A) Patent Pending Status: Probably the most well-known advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the item “patent pending.” It has an occasion-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen on television” label which is put on many products. An item bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses an industrial marketing advantage right from the beginning.
B) Capacity to enhance the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has one year to “convert” the provisional in to a “full blown” utility application.In that year, the inventor need to commercialize the item 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 a normal utility application which can not be changed in any respect, a provisional application may have additional material included in it to enhance it upon its conversion within 1 year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips that had been obtained by the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization in the product can be implemented and guarded during that time.
C) Establishment of the filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor having a crucial “filing date.” Put simply, the date that this provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for your later filed/converted utility patent.
III. Requirements for getting a utility patent. When you are sure that your invention is really a potential candidate for any utility patent (as it fits within one of the statutory classes), you should then move ahead to evaluate whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” Both of these requirements are essentially focused on whether your invention is completely new, and if so, whether there exists a substantial distinction between it and other products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To obtain a utility patent, you need to initially decide if your invention is “novel”. In other words, is the invention new?Are you currently the very first person to have looked at it? For instance, should you obtain a patent on the light bulb, it seems quite clear that you would not be entitled to a patent, since the light bulb will not be a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your application, would reject it dependant 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 bulb patent against you as relevant “prior art” (prior art is everything “known” before your conception of the invention or everything recognized to the general public multiple year before you file a patent application for the invention).
For your invention to be novel with respect to other inventions on the planet (prior art), it has to 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 actually be novel when compared to the Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). When 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 would be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention that is just like yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is extremely easy to overcome, since any slight variation in good shape, size, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even though the invention is novel, it might fail the other requirement mentioned above: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, usually do not celebrate yet — it is actually more challenging to fulfill the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to beat in the pursuit of Inventhelp Store. Indeed, if novelty were the only requirement to satisfy, then almost anything conceivable might be patented as long since it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a more difficult, complex requirement must be satisfied after the novelty question is met. This second requirement is referred to as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states partly that although an invention as well as the related prior art might not really “identical” (meaning that the invention is novel with regards to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable when the differences between it and also the related prior art would be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the field of the specific invention.
This really is in fact the Patent and Trademark Office’s way of subjectively judging the “quality” of an invention. Clearly the PTO has no latitude in judging whether your invention is novel or otherwise not — it is more often than not quite evident whether any differences exist between your invention and the prior art.With this point there is absolutely no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is quite a bit of room for various opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: each person, including different Examiners in the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding if the invention is definitely obvious.
Some common examples 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 items 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 varieties of prior art which can be employed to keep you from getting a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those activities in which the PTO can cite against you in an attempt to prove that your invention is not actually novel or even to show that the invention is obvious. These eight sections can be broken down into an organized and understandable format consisting of two main categories: prior art which can be dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are not the initial inventor); and prior art which dates back prior to your “filing date” (thus showing that you simply might have waited too long to file for a patent).
A) Prior art which dates back prior to your date of invention: It could 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 since you would not truly become the first inventor. Section 102(a) from the patent law specifically describes those things which can be utilized as prior art when they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in america: Any evidence that the 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 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 particular invention was generally recognized to the general public just before your date of invention.
2) Public use in america: Use by others from the invention you are trying to patent in public areas in the United States, just before your date of invention, can take place against your patent application through the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if a person else was publicly using the invention before you even conceived of this, you obviously should not be the original and first inventor from it, and you may not need to obtain a patent for this.
3) Patented in the United States or abroad: Any United States or foreign patents which issued prior to your date of invention and which disclose your invention will 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 (such as books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published before 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 are certainly not the first inventor (since another person thought of it before you) and also you are certainly not entitled to 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 in the invention or everything recognized to the general public more than one 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 may be unable to obtain a patent on it if this has entered the world of public knowledge and more than 1 year has gone by between that point and your filing of any patent application. The goal of this rule is always to encourage people to get patents on their inventions at the earliest opportunity or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) in the patent law defines specifically those types of prior art which can be used against you as being a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in the United States: When the invention you wish to patent was sold or offered on the market in america multiple year before you file a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your own invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of the invention on January 1, 2008, and present it for sale on January 3, 2008, so as to raise some funds to try to get a patent. You have to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (one year through the day you offered it available for sale).If you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for instance, the PTO will reject your application as being barred as it was offered for sale more than one year before your filing date.This will be the case if a person besides yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it available for sale publicly.You just kept it to yourself.Also believe that on February 1, 2008, somebody else conceived of your invention and began selling it. This starts your one year clock running!If you do not file a patent on the invention by February 2, 2009, (twelve months through the date one other person began selling it) then you certainly also is going to be forever barred from obtaining a patent. Note that the provision from the law prevents you from obtaining a patent, even though there is not any prior art dating back to before your date of conception and also you are indeed the first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was available to the public for over one year before your filing date due to another person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin your odds of 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 wish to patent was utilized in the United States by you or another more than one year before your filing of any patent application, then you are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your invention. Typical examples of public use are when you or someone else display and utilize the invention at a trade show or public gathering, on tv, or somewhere else where the general public has potential access.The general public use will not need to be one which specifically promises to make the public mindful 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 often not invoke the one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in the usa or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or some other printed publication on your part or by another person, offered to people in america or abroad multiple year before your filing date, will keep you from getting a patent on your own invention.Note that even a write-up authored by you, concerning your own invention, will start the main one-year clock running.So, as an example, if you detailed your invention in a press ndefzr and mailed it out, this might start the main one-year clock running.So too would the one-year clock start running for you when a complete stranger published a printed article about the topic of your invention.
4) Patented in the United States or abroad: When a U . S . or foreign patent covering your invention issued more than a year before your filing date, you may be barred from acquiring a patent. Compare this with the previous section regarding United States and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) in the patent law, you are prohibited from getting a patent when the filing date of another patent is sooner than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which our company is discussing here, you can not get yourself a patent upon an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over this past year, even if your date of invention was before the filing date of that patent.