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 United States government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a specific 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 is definitely the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years back in to the many regional phone companies. The federal government, specifically 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 us government permit a monopoly in the form of Mom Inventors? The government makes an exception to encourage inventors ahead forward using their creations. In doing so, the government actually promotes advancements in science and technology.
To start with, it needs to be clear to you exactly how a patent works as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the owner in the patent to stop other people from producing the item or making use of the process included in the patent. Think about Thomas Edison along with his most well-known patented invention, the light bulb. With his patent for that bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent some other person or company from producing, using or selling lights without his permission. Essentially, no one could contend with him within the bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, to be able to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in return. He required to fully “disclose” his invention for the public.
To have a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose what the invention is, the way it operates, and the easiest way known by the inventor to make it.It really is this disclosure towards the public which entitles the inventor to your monopoly.The logic for accomplishing this is the fact that by promising inventors a monopoly in return for their disclosures for the public, inventors will continually strive to develop 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 would be few incentives to develop 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 attempt to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul with regards to their invention, and the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights under a patent lasts 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 that light bulb, we may probably have to pay about $300 to get a light bulb today.Without competition, there would 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 lots of companies did.The vigorous competition to perform just that after expiration from the Edison patent ended 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 relates to inventions that have a “functional” aspect (in other words, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it really “does” something).Quite simply, the one thing that is different or “special” concerning the invention must be to get a functional purpose.To be eligible 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 almost any physical, functional invention will fall into at least one of these categories, so that you will not need to be concerned with which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: consider a “machine” as something which accomplishes a job as a result of interaction of the physical parts, for instance a can opener, a car engine, a fax machine, etc.It is the combination and interconnection of these physical parts that our company is concerned and that are protected by the Invent Help Invention Ideas.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be looked at as things that accomplish a job like a machine, but with no interaction of various physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may seem to be similar in many cases, you are able to distinguish the two by thinking about articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic things that routinely have no moving parts. A paper clip, for example is definitely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a job (holding papers together), but is clearly not a “machine” as it is a basic device which fails to rely on the interaction of numerous parts.
C) Process: a means of performing something through several steps, each step interacting somehow having 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 new use for a known product. Board games are typically protected as being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions like pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds such as soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so forth can be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes are often protected in this manner.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of your object, as opposed to its “utility” or function, which can be protected by a utility patent. In other words, when the invention is a useful object that has a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might give you the appropriate protection. To prevent infringement, a copier will have to generate a version that will not look “substantially just like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the shape and overall look without infringing the design patent.
A provisional patent application is actually a step toward getting a utility patent, where the invention might not yet anticipate to obtain a utility patent. In other words, if it seems as though the invention cannot yet get a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed within the Patent Office to establish the inventor’s priority to the invention.Because the inventor continues to develop the invention and make further developments which permit a utility patent to become obtained, then your inventor can “convert” the provisional application to your full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for that date once the provisional application was initially filed.
A provisional patent has several positive aspects:
A) Patent Pending Status: The most well known advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to right away begin marking the item “patent pending.” This has a time-proven tremendous commercial value, like the “as seen on TV” label which can be put on many products. A product bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses a commercial marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Capability 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 should try to commercialize the merchandise and assess its potential. When the product appears commercially viable in that year, then your inventor is encouraged to convert the provisional application in to a utility application.However, unlike a typical utility application which should not be changed by any means, a provisional application could have additional material put into it to boost it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips which were obtained by the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product may be implemented and protected at that time.
C) Establishment of the filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor with a crucial “filing date.” Quite simply, the date that this provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for obtaining a utility patent. Once you are certain that your invention is a potential candidate for any utility patent (because 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.” These two requirements are essentially concerned with whether your invention is completely new, and in case so, whether there exists a substantial distinction between it and similar products within the related field.
A) Novelty: To have a utility patent, you must initially see whether your invention is “novel”. In other words, is your invention new?Are you currently the very first person to have thought of it? For example, if you decide to make application for a patent on the light bulb, it seems quite clear that you would not be eligible for a patent, since the bulb is not a 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 light patent against you as relevant “prior art” (prior art is everything “known” just before your conception from the invention or everything proven to the public more than one year prior to deciding to file a patent application for that invention).
For the invention to be novel with regards to other inventions in the world (prior art), it must just be different in some 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 sometimes be novel when 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 exhibit that your invention was not novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which is identical to yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and it is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is very easy to overcome, since any slight variation fit, size, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, however the invention is novel, it may fail one other requirement mentioned previously: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, do not celebrate yet — it really is harder to fulfill the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to beat inside the quest for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only requirement to fulfill, then just about everything conceivable could be patented so long as it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied right after the novelty question is met. This second requirement is known 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 if the differences between it as well as the related prior art would be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the actual invention.
This 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 is more often than not quite evident whether any differences exist between your invention and also the prior art.With this point there is absolutely no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there exists quite a bit of room for a number of opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: different people, including different Examiners in the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding whether or not the invention is truly obvious.
Some common examples of things that usually are not usually considered significant, and so 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 popular component for the next similar component, etc.
IV. Precisely what 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 could be used to stop you from acquiring a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those things that the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your particular invention will not be actually novel or demonstrate that your invention is obvious. These eight sections may be divided into an organized and understandable format comprising 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 goes back just before your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited very long to file for any patent).
A) Prior art which dates back just before your date of invention: It could manage to sound right that in case prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you must not be entitled to obtain a patent on that invention because you would not truly function as the first inventor. Section 102(a) from the patent law specifically describes the things which can be used as prior art if they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in america: Any evidence that your particular 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 particular invention was known in america, the PTO might still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can show that your invention was generally recognized to the public prior to your date of invention.
2) Public use in america: Use by others in the invention you are attempting to patent in public in the United States, prior to your date of invention, may be held against your patent application by the PTO. This will make clear sense, since if a person else was publicly making use of the invention before you even conceived of this, you obviously can not be the initial and first inventor of this, and you may not should get a patent because of it.
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 by the PTO. For instance, think that you invent a lobster de-shelling tool on June 1, 2007.The PTO may 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 U . S . or abroad: Any United States Of America or foreignprinted publications (like books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published just before your date of invention will keep you from getting a patent.Again, the reasoning here is when your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly usually are not the initial inventor (since someone else considered it prior to deciding to) and you are not entitled to patent on it.
B)Prior art which dates back just before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was described as everything known just before your conception from the invention or everything recognized to the public several year before your filing of any patent application. This means that in lots of circumstances, even though you were the first one to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to acquire a patent onto it when it has entered the world of public knowledge and more than one year has gone by between that point along with your filing of the patent application. The purpose of this rule would be to encourage people to try to get patents on the inventions as quickly as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) from the patent law defines specifically those varieties of prior art which may be used against you as a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in the usa: In the event the invention you intend to patent was sold or offered available for sale in america several year prior to deciding to file a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on your invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your own invention on January 1, 2008, and present it available for sale on January 3, 2008, in an effort to raise some funds to apply for a patent. You have to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (one year from the day you offered it on the market).In the event you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for example, the PTO will reject your application as being barred as it was offered for sale several year prior to your filing date.This would be the case if a person besides yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you 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 the invention and began selling it. This starts your 1 year clock running!If you do not file a patent on your own invention by February 2, 2009, (one year from the date the other person began selling it) then you certainly also will be forever barred from obtaining a patent. Be aware that this provision of the law prevents you from obtaining a patent, despite the fact that there is absolutely no prior art going back to before your date of conception and you truly are the first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was accessible to the general public more than one year before your filing date due to the other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin your odds of getting a patent even if you are the initial inventor and possess satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in america: If the invention you wish to How To Submit A Patent was applied in the United States on your part or any other several year before your filing of any patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever getting a patent on the invention. Typical examples of public use are when you or someone else display and make use of the invention at a trade exhibition or public gathering, on tv, or somewhere else where the general public has potential access.The public use do not need to be the one that specifically plans to have the public aware of the invention. Any use which is often potentially accessed from the public will suffice to begin the main one year clock running (but a secret use will most likely not invoke the main 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 someone else, accessible to people in the United States or abroad several year before your filing date, will stop you from acquiring a patent on the invention.Remember that even an article published by you, concerning your own invention, begins the one-year clock running.So, for example, if you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it, this would start the main one-year clock running.So too would the one-year clock start running to suit your needs in case 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 prior to 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 happen to be prohibited from getting a patent in the event the filing date of another patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we have been discussing here, you can not obtain a patent upon an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over a year ago, even if your date of invention was ahead of the filing date of the patent.