What is a patent? A U . S . Patent is essentially 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 certain concept for a short time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any type of monopolization in commerce, as a result of belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. A great example is the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years back in to the many regional phone companies. The us government, particularly 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 within the telephone industry.
Why, then, would the federal government permit a monopoly by means of How To Get A Patent On An Idea? The government makes an exception to encourage inventors to come forward making use of their creations. By doing this, the us government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To start with, it should be clear for you just how a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the property owner from the patent to prevent someone else from producing the product or making use of the process protected by the patent. Think about Thomas Edison and his most well-known patented invention, the light bulb. Together with his patent for the bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent any other person or company from producing, using or selling bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no one could compete with him in the light business, and therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in return. He needed to fully “disclose” his invention towards the public.
To obtain a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, the way it operates, and the easiest way known from the inventor making it.It is this disclosure towards the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is that by promising inventors a monopoly in exchange for their disclosures towards the public, inventors will continually attempt to develop new technologies and disclose these to the public. Providing all of them with the monopoly allows them to profit financially from your invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there would be few incentives to build up new technologies, because without having a patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing their invention will be stolen once they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul about their invention, and the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights within patent lasts for a small period.Utility patents expire 20 years after they are filed.If this type of was not 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 that bulb, we would probably have to pay about $300 to get an easy bulb today.Without competition, there will be little incentive for Edison to enhance upon his bulb.Instead, after the Edison light patent expired, everybody was free to manufacture lights, and lots of companies did.The vigorous competition to accomplish just that after expiration from the Edison patent resulted in better quality, lower costing bulbs.
Varieties of patents. There are essentially three kinds of patents which you should know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent pertains to inventions which may have a “functional” aspect (quite simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it really “does” something).Quite simply, the thing that is different or “special” about the invention should be to get 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. Take into account that virtually any physical, functional invention will belong to at least one of these categories, so that you need not be worried about which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: consider a “machine” as a thing that accomplishes a job because of the interaction of its physical parts, like a can opener, a vehicle engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of these physical parts in which we have been concerned and that are protected from the Inventhelp Caveman Commercial.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be looked at as items that accomplish a task similar to 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 2 by considering articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic things that routinely have no moving parts. A paper clip, for instance is surely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes an activity (holding papers together), but is clearly not a “machine” because it is a simple device which fails to rely on the interaction of varied parts.
C) Process: an easy method of doing something through several steps, each step interacting somehow with a physical element, is regarded as a “process.” A process can be quite a new way of manufacturing a known product or can even be a whole new use to get a known product. Board games are usually protected being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions like pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds such as soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so on could be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes tend to be protected in this manner.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of the object, rather than its “utility” or function, which is protected by way of a utility patent. Put simply, in the event the invention is a useful object which has 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 like 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, where invention might not exactly yet anticipate to get yourself a utility patent. In other words, when it seems as if the invention cannot yet get yourself a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed inside the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority towards the invention.Since the inventor continues to develop the invention making further developments that allow 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 the date if the provisional application was filed.
A provisional patent has several positive aspects:
A) Patent Pending Status: Probably the most well known benefit of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to right away begin marking the product “patent pending.” It has an occasion-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen on television” label which can be placed on many products. A product or service bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses an industrial marketing advantage from the very beginning.
B) Ability 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 commercialize the product and assess its potential. When the product appears commercially viable in that year, then this inventor is asked to convert the provisional application in to a utility application.However, unlike an ordinary utility application which can not be changed by any means, a provisional application might have additional material put into it to boost it upon its conversion within twelve months.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips that had been obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product may be implemented and protected during that time.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor using 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 getting a utility patent. Once you are certain your invention is a potential candidate to get a utility patent (as it fits within one of many statutory classes), you need to then move ahead to assess whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” Those two requirements are essentially concerned with whether your invention is totally new, and when so, whether you will find a substantial difference between it and similar products within the related field.
A) Novelty: To obtain a utility patent, you need to initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. Put simply, is the invention new?Have you been the initial person to have thought of it? As an example, should you make application for a patent on the bulb, it seems like quite clear which you would not really eligible to a patent, considering that the bulb will not be a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your application, would reject it based on the truth that Edison invented the lighting bulb many years 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” prior to your conception of the invention or everything proven to the general public more than one year before you file a patent application for that invention).
To your invention to become novel regarding other inventions on earth (prior art), it should just be different in a few minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel more than a similar invention.If you decide to invent a square bulb, your invention would really be novel compared to the Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). When the patent office would cite the round Edison light against your square one as prior art to show that the invention was not novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which can be identical to yours in each and every way your invention lacks novelty and it is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly very easy to overcome, since any slight variation fit, size, combination of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even though the invention is novel, it could fail one other requirement mentioned above: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, usually do not celebrate yet — it is actually more difficult to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to overcome within the quest for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only requirement in order to satisfy, then just about everything conceivable could be patented so long as it differed slightly from all of previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied following the novelty real 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 may not be “identical” (which means 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 will be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the field of the actual invention.
This 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 otherwise not — it is actually more often than not quite evident whether any differences exist in between your invention and the prior art.With this point there is no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is certainly a large amount of room for many different opinions, considering that the requirement is inherently subjective: differing people, including different Examiners at the Patent Office, will have different opinions regarding whether the invention is truly obvious.
Some common examples of things that usually are not usually considered significant, and thus which are 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. What is considered prior art through the Patent Office?
The patent laws, specifically 35 U.S.C. section 102, outline eight major kinds of prior art which can be used to stop you from acquiring a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those ideas in which the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your particular invention will not be in fact novel or even to show that your invention is obvious. These eight sections could be split up 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 first inventor); and prior art which extends back before your “filing date” (thus showing which you might have waited too long to file for a patent).
A) Prior art which dates back prior to your date of invention: It would appear to make sense that when prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you must not be entitled to have 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 if they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the usa: Any evidence that your particular invention was “known” by others, in the usa, just before your date of invention. Even if there is no patent or written documentation showing that the invention was known in the usa, the PTO can still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can reveal that your invention was generally proven to the public just before your date of invention.
2) Public use in america: Use by others of the invention you are attempting to patent in public places in america, just before your date of invention, may be held against your patent application through the PTO. This will make clear sense, since if someone else was publicly utilizing the invention even before you conceived of this, you obviously should not be the original and first inventor of it, and you do not should obtain a patent because of it.
3) Patented in the United States or abroad: Any United States Of America 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 from the PTO. For instance, think 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 Of America 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 United States Of America or foreignprinted publications (such as books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published before your date of invention will stop you from getting a patent.Again, the reasoning here is that if your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you usually are not the first inventor (since somebody else looked at it prior to deciding to) and you are not eligible to patent on it.
B)Prior art which goes back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was defined as everything known prior to your conception from the invention or everything proven to the public more than one year before your filing of the patent application. Therefore that in numerous circumstances, even when you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will end up unable to obtain a patent into it if this has entered the world of public knowledge and more than 1 year has passed between that time along with your filing of a patent application. The goal of this rule is always to persuade folks to apply for patents on their inventions at the earliest opportunity 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 as being a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in the usa: In the event the invention you want to patent was sold or offered on the market in the United States more than one year before you decide to file a patent application, then you certainly 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 (one year from your day you offered it for sale).If you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for instance, the PTO will reject the application as being barred as it was offered on the market more than one year prior to your filing date.This also will be the case if someone 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 merely kept it to yourself.Also think that on February 1, 2008, another person conceived of the invention and began selling it. This starts your 1 year clock running!If you do not file a patent on the invention by February 2, 2009, (twelve months from your date one other person began selling it) then you certainly also is going to be forever barred from obtaining a patent. Be aware that this provision in the law prevents you from getting a patent, despite the fact that there is no prior art going back to before your date of conception and you are indeed the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), simply because the invention was accessible to the public for over one year before your filing date as a result of the other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you getting a patent even if you are the first inventor and possess satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in america: When the invention you want to Inventhelp Successful Inventions was utilized in the United States by you or another several year before your filing of a patent application, then you are “barred” from ever getting 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 exhibition or public gathering, on tv, or anywhere else where the general public has potential access.People use do not need to be the one that specifically intends to create the public aware of the invention. Any use which may be potentially accessed from the public will suffice to start the one year clock running (but a secret use will usually not invoke usually the one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in the usa or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or any other printed publication by you or by another person, offered to people in america or abroad more than one year before your filing date, will stop you from acquiring a patent on the invention.Remember that even a post authored by you, regarding your own invention, will begin usually the one-year clock running.So, for example, in the event you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it, this would start usually the 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 topic of your invention.
4) Patented in the United States or abroad: In case a United States Of America or foreign patent covering your invention issued spanning a year prior to your filing date, you will end up barred from obtaining a patent. Compare this using the previous section regarding U . S . and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) in the patent law, you are prohibited from acquiring a patent if the filing date of some other patent is sooner than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which our company is discussing here, you can not obtain a patent with an invention which was disclosed in another patent issued over this past year, even if your date of invention was ahead of the filing date of the patent.