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 particular concept for a very limited time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any kind of monopolization in commerce, due to the belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. An excellent example is the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years ago into the many regional phone companies. The government, specifically 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 on the telephone industry.
Why, then, would the federal government permit a monopoly in the form of How To Patent An Idea With Inventhelp? The government makes an exception to encourage inventors ahead forward with their creations. By doing this, the federal government actually promotes advancements in science and technology.
To start with, it needs to be clear to you exactly how a patent acts as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the property owner from the patent to avoid anyone else from producing the item or utilizing the process protected by the patent. Think of Thomas Edison along with his most well-known patented invention, the light bulb. With his patent for your light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent every other person or company from producing, using or selling bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no person could contest with him inside the light business, and hence he possessed a monopoly.
However, so that you can receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in turn. He required to fully “disclose” his invention for the public.
To acquire a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose what the invention is, how it operates, and the most effective way known through the inventor making it.It is actually this disclosure for the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for accomplishing this is that by promising inventors a monopoly in exchange for his or her disclosures towards the public, inventors will continually make an effort to develop technologies and disclose them to people. Providing them with the monopoly enables them to profit financially from your invention. Without this “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to develop new technologies, because without having a patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work will bring him no financial reward.Fearing that the invention could be stolen once they make an effort to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul with regards to their invention, and also the public would never benefit.
The grant of rights within patent will last for a restricted period.Utility patents expire two decades when they are filed.If this type of was incorrect, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there would be serious consequences. For example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for your light, we may probably have to pay about $300 to get an easy bulb today.Without competition, there would be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light.Instead, after the Edison bulb patent expired, everybody was free to manufacture lights, and lots of companies did.The vigorous competition to perform exactly that after expiration from the Edison patent ended in higher quality, lower costing bulbs.
Kinds of patents. There are essentially three varieties of patents which you ought to know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent relates to inventions that have a “functional” aspect (quite simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it genuinely “does” something).Put simply, the one thing that is different or “special” regarding the invention must be for a functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention must also fall within at least one in the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Take into account that virtually any physical, functional invention will fall under one or more of such categories, so you will not need to be worried about which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: consider a “machine” as something which accomplishes a job due to the interaction of the physical parts, such as a can opener, a vehicle engine, a fax machine, etc.This is the combination and interconnection of such physical parts that we are concerned and that are protected from the Inventors Corner.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be looked at as items that accomplish a job just like a machine, but minus the interaction of numerous physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may seem to be similar in many cases, you can distinguish the two by considering articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic items that routinely have no moving parts. A paper clip, as an example is surely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a job (holding papers together), but is clearly not just a “machine” since it is an easy device which fails to rely on the interaction of varied parts.
C) Process: an easy method of accomplishing something through one or more steps, each step interacting somehow with a physical element, is regarded as a “process.” A process could be a new approach to manufacturing a known product or can also be a new use for any known product. Board games are typically protected as 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 are often protected in this fashion.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of an object, rather than its “utility” or function, which can be protected by a utility patent. Put simply, when the invention is actually a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might give you the appropriate protection. In order to avoid infringement, a copier will have to create a version that does not look “substantially like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the design and overall look without infringing the style patent.
A provisional patent application is a step toward obtaining a utility patent, in which the invention may not yet anticipate to get yourself a utility patent. Quite simply, if this seems like the invention cannot yet get yourself a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed in the Patent Office to determine the inventor’s priority towards the invention.Because the inventor continues to develop the invention making further developments which allow a utility patent to become obtained, then your inventor can “convert” the provisional application to a full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for that date once the provisional application was filed.
A provisional patent has several advantages:
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 item “patent pending.” It has an occasion-proven tremendous commercial value, similar to the “as seen in the media” label that is put on many products. A product bearing these two phrases clearly possesses a professional marketing advantage from the very beginning.
B) Capacity to increase the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has one year to “convert” the provisional into a “full blown” utility application.During that year, the inventor need to try to commercialize the merchandise and assess its potential. When the product appears commercially viable in that year, then your inventor is asked to convert the provisional application in to a utility application.However, unlike a typical utility application which should not be changed in any way, a provisional application might have additional material put into it to improve it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips that had been obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization from the product may be implemented and protected at that time.
C) Establishment of the filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor having a crucial “filing date.” In other words, the date the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for acquiring a utility patent. When you are certain that your invention is a potential candidate for a utility patent (because it fits within one of many statutory classes), you should 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 completely new, and if so, whether you will find a substantial difference between it and other products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To acquire a utility patent, you need to initially see whether your invention is “novel”. Put simply, is your invention new?Have you been the very first person to get considered it? For example, if you were to obtain a patent on the bulb, it appears quite clear which you would not entitled to a patent, considering that the bulb will not be a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based on the reality that Edison invented the lighting 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” before your conception from the invention or everything recognized to people more than one year before you file a patent application for your invention).
To your invention to become novel with regards 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 more than a similar invention.If you decide to invent a square light bulb, your invention would really be novel compared to the Edison 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 demonstrate that your invention had not been novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which is identical to yours in every single way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is very easy to overcome, since any slight variation in good shape, size, mixture of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, although the invention is novel, it might fail the other requirement mentioned previously: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, usually do not celebrate yet — it is actually more challenging to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As mentioned above, the novelty requirement is the easy obstacle to overcome in the quest for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only requirement in order to satisfy, then just about everything conceivable may be patented provided that it differed slightly from all of previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a more difficult, complex requirement has to be satisfied following the novelty question is met. This second requirement is called “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states in part that although an invention as well as 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 if the differences between it and the related prior art will be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the area 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 — it really is more often than not quite evident whether any differences exist involving the invention and also the prior art.About this point there is not any room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is certainly a substantial amount of room for a number of opinions, considering that the requirement is inherently subjective: differing people, including different Examiners in the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding if the invention is really obvious.
Some common samples of things which are not usually considered significant, and therefore that are usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to create 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 another similar component, etc.
IV. What exactly is considered prior art through 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 prevent you from getting a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those things which the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your invention will not be in fact novel or to show that your invention is obvious. These eight sections may be split up into an arranged and understandable format consisting of two main categories: prior art which is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are not the very first inventor); and prior art which goes back just before your “filing date” (thus showing that you might have waited too long to submit for a patent).
A) Prior art which dates back prior to your date of invention: It could appear to make sense that if prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you should not be entitled to acquire a patent on that invention because you would not truly be the first inventor. Section 102(a) from the patent law specifically describes the points which bring prior art should they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the United States: Any evidence that your invention was “known” by others, in the usa, prior to 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 can still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can show that your invention was generally recognized to people just before your date of invention.
2) Public use in america: Use by others of the invention you are trying to patent in public areas in the United States, just before your date of invention, can be held against your patent application from the PTO. This will make clear sense, since if someone 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 should get a patent for 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 through the PTO. As an example, assume that you invent a lobster de-shelling tool on June 1, 2007.The PTO can use any patents which disclose an identical 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 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 obtaining a patent.Again, the reasoning here is that if your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you definitely are certainly not the first inventor (since another person looked at it before you decide to) and also you are not eligible for patent on it.
B)Prior art which dates back just before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was described as everything known before your conception of the invention or everything recognized to the general public multiple year before your filing of the patent application. What this means is that in numerous 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 arena of public knowledge and over one year has gone by between that point along with your filing of a patent application. The purpose of this rule is always to persuade folks to get patents on the inventions as soon as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) of 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 america: When the invention you intend to patent was sold or offered for sale in the United States more than one year before you file a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever getting a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of the invention on January 1, 2008, and present it on the market 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 (twelve months through the day you offered it available for sale).Should you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for example, the PTO will reject your application for being barred since it was offered for sale multiple year prior to your filing date.This too is the case if someone other than yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still which you conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it on the market publicly.You simply kept it to yourself.Also think that on February 1, 2008, someone else conceived of the 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, (one year from your date the other person began selling it) then you also will likely be forever barred from acquiring a patent. Be aware that this provision in the law prevents you against acquiring a patent, although there is not any prior art going back to before your date of conception and also you are indeed the very first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), simply because the invention was accessible to the public for more than 1 year before your filing date due to the other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you getting a patent even though you are the initial inventor and possess satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in america: When the invention you wish to Invent Help Technology was applied in the usa by you or some other multiple year before your filing of a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your own invention. Typical types of public use are whenever you or somebody else display and utilize the invention in a trade event or public gathering, on television, or elsewhere where most people has potential access.The general public use need not be the one that specifically intends to make the public mindful 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 most likely 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 someone else, available to the general public in america or abroad more than one year before your filing date, will prevent you from obtaining a patent on your own invention.Remember that even a post authored by you, concerning your own invention, begins usually the one-year clock running.So, for example, should you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it, this might start the one-year clock running.So too would usually the one-year clock start running for you if a complete stranger published a printed article about the subject of your invention.
4) Patented in america or abroad: When a U . S . or foreign patent covering your invention issued spanning a year just before your filing date, you will end up 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 are prohibited from obtaining a patent in the event the filing date of another patent is sooner than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we have been discussing here, you cannot get a patent on 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.