What is a patent? A United States Patent is essentially a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is a contract where the United States Of America government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a certain concept for a limited 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 good example will be the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years ago to the many regional phone companies. The federal 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 us government permit a monopoly as Inventhelp Ideas? The us government makes an exception to encourage inventors to come forward making use of their creations. In doing so, the federal government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
First of all, it ought to be clear for you just how a patent works as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the owner from the patent to stop anyone else from producing the product or utilizing the process covered by the patent. Think about Thomas Edison and his most popular patented invention, the sunshine bulb. Along 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 person could contest with him inside the light business, and therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, so that you can receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison needed to give something in turn. He needed to fully “disclose” his invention to the public.
To have a U . S . Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, how it operates, and the best way known by the inventor making it.It is this disclosure to the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for accomplishing this is the fact that by promising inventors a monopoly in exchange for disclosures to the public, inventors will continually strive to develop technologies and disclose those to people. Providing them with the monopoly enables them to profit financially through the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to build up new technologies, because without a patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing their invention would be stolen when they make an effort to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul about their invention, as well as the public would never benefit.
The grant of rights under a patent lasts for a limited period.Utility patents expire two decades after they are filed.If this type of 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 light, we would probably must pay about $300 to purchase a mild bulb today.Without competition, there will be little incentive for Edison to enhance upon his bulb.Instead, once the Edison light patent expired, everybody was free to manufacture lights, and many companies did.The vigorous competition to perform just that after expiration of the Edison patent led to better quality, lower costing bulbs.
Varieties of patents. You will find 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 (quite simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it actually “does” something).Quite simply, the thing which is different or “special” about the invention must be for a functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention should also fall within a minumum of one of the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Take into account that almost any physical, functional invention will fall into one or more of such categories, so you will not need to be worried about which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: think of a “machine” as something which accomplishes a task because of the interaction of the physical parts, for instance a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.This is the combination and interconnection of such physical parts that we are concerned and which are protected from the Invention Websites.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be regarded as items that accomplish a job similar to a machine, but minus the interaction of varied physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may seem to be similar in many instances, you can distinguish the two by considering articles of manufacture as more simplistic items 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 really a “machine” as it is a basic device which does not rely on the interaction of numerous parts.
C) Process: an easy method of accomplishing something through several steps, each step interacting in some manner using a physical element, is known as a “process.” An activity could be a new way of manufacturing a known product or can even be a new use for any known product. Board games are generally protected as being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions such as pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds such as soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and the like 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 your 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 avoid infringement, a copier will have to produce a version that does not look “substantially like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the shape and overall appearance without infringing the design patent.
A provisional patent application is really a step toward acquiring a utility patent, in which the invention might not exactly yet be ready to obtain a utility patent. Quite simply, when it seems as though the invention cannot yet get a utility patent, the provisional application could be filed within the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority for the invention.As the inventor consistently develop the invention to make further developments which allow a utility patent to become obtained, then the inventor can “convert” the provisional application to your full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for your date when the provisional application was first filed.
A provisional patent has several advantages:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far the most popular benefit of a Provisional Patent Application is it allows the inventor to right away begin marking the product “patent pending.” This has a time-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen on TV” label that is put on many products. An item bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses a commercial marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Ability to increase 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 should try to commercialize the item and assess its potential. In the event the product appears commercially viable during that year, then this inventor is asked to convert the provisional application into a utility application.However, unlike a normal utility application which cannot be changed in any respect, a provisional application might have additional material put into it to boost it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips which were obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product may be implemented and guarded during that time.
C) Establishment of any filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor with a crucial “filing date.” Put simply, the date that this provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for getting a utility patent. When you are certain that your invention is really a potential candidate to get a utility patent (as it fits within among the statutory classes), you need to then move ahead to assess whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” These two requirements are essentially focused on whether your invention is new, and if so, whether there is a substantial distinction between it and other products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To have a utility patent, you need to initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. Quite simply, can be your invention new?Have you been the first person to possess considered it? For instance, should you obtain a patent on the light bulb, it appears quite clear that you would not be eligible to a patent, because the light bulb is not really a whole new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it dependant on the fact that Edison invented the light bulb a long time ago. In rejecting your patent application, the Patent Office would actually cite the Edison bulb patent against you as relevant “prior art” (prior art is everything “known” before your conception from the invention or everything known to the general public several year prior to deciding to file a patent application for your invention).
For your invention to get novel with regards to other inventions in the world (prior art), it has to simply be different in a few minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel spanning a similar invention.If you decide to invent a square light bulb, your invention would sometimes be novel when compared to Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). In the event the patent office were to cite the round Edison light bulb against your square one as prior art to exhibit that your invention had not been novel, they would be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which is just like yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and it is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly 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 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 really is harder to meet the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As stated before, the novelty requirement is the easy obstacle to get over within the pursuit of a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only real requirement to fulfill, then just about everything conceivable might be patented provided that it differed slightly from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a much more difficult, complex requirement has to be satisfied following the novelty question for you is met. This second requirement is referred to as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states to some extent that although an invention as well as the related prior art might not be “identical” (which means the invention is novel with respect to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable in the event the differences between it and the related prior art would be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the field of the particular invention.
This really is in fact 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 in between your invention as well as the prior art.About this point there is no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is quite a bit of room for various opinions, because the requirement is inherently subjective: each person, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding if the invention is definitely obvious.
Some common types of things that are certainly not usually considered significant, and therefore which can be usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to help make something lighter in weight; changing the size and style or color; combining items of what 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 types of prior art which may be used to stop you from obtaining a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those things in which the PTO can cite against you in an attempt to prove that your invention is not really in fact novel or reveal that your invention is obvious. These eight sections can be divided into a structured and understandable format comprising two main categories: prior art which is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are currently not the initial inventor); and prior art which goes back before your “filing date” (thus showing which you might have waited very long to file to get a patent).
A) Prior art which goes back just before your date of invention: It could manage to make sense that when prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you should not be entitled to acquire a patent on that invention as you would not truly be the first inventor. Section 102(a) in the patent law specifically describes those things which can be used prior art if they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the usa: Any evidence that the invention was “known” by others, in the usa, before your date of invention. Even when there is no patent or written documentation showing that your particular invention was known in the usa, the PTO might 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 just before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the usa: Use by others of the invention you are attempting to patent in public areas in the usa, prior to your date of invention, can be held against your patent application through the PTO. This should make clear sense, since if somebody else was publicly using the invention even before you conceived of this, you obviously should not be the initial and first inventor from it, and you may not should get a patent for this.
3) Patented in america or abroad: Any United States Of America or foreign patents which issued prior to your date of invention and which disclose your invention will 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 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 United States Of America or foreignprinted publications (including books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published prior to 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 definitely usually are not the very first inventor (since somebody else considered it before you) and you also are not eligible to patent into it.
B)Prior art which extends back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was considered everything known before your conception in the invention or everything known to the general public multiple year before your filing of the patent application. What this means is that in numerous circumstances, even though you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to get a patent into 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 a patent application. The purpose of this rule would be to encourage people to try to get patents on their own 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 may be used against you as being a “one-year bar” as follows:
1) Commercial activity in america: In the event the invention you want to patent was sold or offered available for sale in america multiple year before you decide to file a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your own invention on January 1, 2008, and provide it on the market on January 3, 2008, in an attempt to raise some funds to try to get a patent. You must file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (twelve months from the day you offered it for sale).If you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for instance, the PTO will reject the application to be barred since it was offered available for sale multiple year before your filing date.This will be the case if a person besides yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you simply conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but did not sell or offer it available for sale publicly.You simply kept it to yourself.Also think that on February 1, 2008, someone else conceived of your own invention and began selling it. This starts your 1 year clock running!Should you not file a patent on your own invention by February 2, 2009, (1 year from the date the other person began selling it) then you definitely also will likely be forever barred from getting a patent. Note that this provision of the law prevents from getting a patent, despite the fact that there is absolutely no prior art dating back to to before your date of conception and you also really are the very first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), simply because the invention was offered to the public more than twelve months before your filing date as a result of the other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin your chances of obtaining a patent even though you are the first inventor and also have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in america: If the invention you intend to Inventhelp Corporate Headquarters was applied in america by you or any other several year before your filing of any patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your own invention. Typical examples of public use are once you or another person display and utilize the invention in a trade event or public gathering, on tv, or somewhere else where the general public has potential access.People use do not need to be one that specifically plans to create the public aware of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed from the public will suffice to start usually the one year clock running (but a secret use will usually not invoke usually the one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in america or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or other printed publication by you or by another individual, offered to people in america or abroad several year before your filing date, will prevent you from acquiring a patent on your own invention.Note that even a post authored by you, concerning your own invention, will start the one-year clock running.So, for example, if you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it all out, this might start the one-year clock running.So too would the main one-year clock start running for you in case a complete stranger published a printed article about the main topic of your invention.
4) Patented in the usa or abroad: If a U . S . or foreign patent covering your invention issued over a year just before your filing date, you will be barred from obtaining a patent. Compare this with the previous section regarding United States Of America and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) in the patent law, you happen to be prohibited from obtaining a patent when the filing date of another patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we are discussing here, you cannot get yourself a patent with an invention which had been disclosed in another patent issued over this past year, even though your date of invention was before the filing date of that patent.