What is a patent? A United States Of America Patent is essentially a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is a contract in which the United States government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a specific concept for a limited time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any sort of monopolization in commerce, due to the belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. An excellent example is definitely the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years back to the many regional phone companies. The government, in particular 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 over the telephone industry.
Why, then, would the us government permit a monopoly in the form of How To Get A Us Patent On An Idea? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors ahead forward making use of their creations. By doing this, the us government actually promotes advancements in science and technology.
First of all, it needs to be clear to you just how a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the property owner from the patent to avoid other people from producing the merchandise or making use of the process included in the patent. Think of Thomas Edison along with his most famous patented invention, the light bulb. With his patent for your light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent any other person or company from producing, using or selling lights without his permission. Essentially, no person could compete with him within the light bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, to be able to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in exchange. He needed to fully “disclose” his invention to the public.
To acquire a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose exactly what the invention is, the actual way it operates, and the best way known from the inventor to make it.It is actually this disclosure for the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is the fact that by promising inventors a monopoly in return for his or her disclosures for the public, inventors will continually strive to develop new technologies and disclose them to the public. Providing these with the monopoly allows them to profit financially from the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to build up technologies, because with no patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing that their invention will be stolen whenever they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul with regards to their invention, and also the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights under a patent lasts for a restricted period.Utility patents expire 20 years after they are filed.If this was untrue, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there would be serious consequences. For instance, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for your bulb, we would probably must pay about $300 to get an easy bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light.Instead, when the Edison bulb patent expired, everybody was liberated to manufacture lights, and many companies did.The vigorous competition to accomplish just that after expiration of the Edison patent resulted in better quality, lower costing lights.
Varieties of patents. You will find essentially three varieties of patents which you should 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).Quite simply, the thing that is different or “special” about the invention must be for a functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention also must fall within at least one in the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Take into account that almost any physical, functional invention will fall into a minumum of one of such categories, so you do not need to be concerned with which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: think of a “machine” as something which accomplishes an activity because of the interaction of its physical parts, like a can opener, a car engine, a fax machine, etc.It is the combination and interconnection of such physical parts with which we have been concerned and that are protected from the Ideas For Inventions.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” needs to be regarded as items that accomplish a job like a machine, but without the interaction of numerous physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may are most often similar in many instances, you are able to distinguish the 2 by considering articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic items that normally have no moving parts. A paper clip, as an example is definitely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a task (holding papers together), but is clearly not a “machine” as it is a basic device which will not rely on the interaction of various parts.
C) Process: a way of doing something through one or more steps, each step interacting in some way having a physical element, is actually a “process.” An activity can be quite a new way of manufacturing a known product or could even be a whole 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 so on could be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes are frequently protected in this manner.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of an object, as opposed to its “utility” or function, which can be protected by a utility patent. In other words, in the event the invention is a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall look, a design patent might supply the appropriate protection. In order to avoid infringement, a copier will have to generate a version that does not look “substantially similar to the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the design and overall look without infringing the design and style patent.
A provisional patent application is really a step toward getting a utility patent, where the invention might not yet anticipate to get yourself a utility patent. In other words, if this seems as if the invention cannot yet get yourself a utility patent, the provisional application might be filed within the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority for the invention.As the inventor will continue to develop the invention to make further developments which allow a utility patent to be obtained, then this 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 first filed.
A provisional patent has several positive aspects:
A) Patent Pending Status: The most popular benefit from a Provisional Patent Application is it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the item “patent pending.” This has an occasion-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen on TV” label which can be applied to many products. An item bearing these two phrases clearly possesses an industrial marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Ability to improve the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has twelve months to “convert” the provisional in to a “full blown” utility application.During that year, the inventor should try to commercialize the merchandise and assess its potential. When the product appears commercially viable in that year, then this 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 way, a provisional application might have additional material added to it to boost it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips that were obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product can be implemented and guarded during that time.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor having a crucial “filing date.” In other words, the date the 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 really a potential candidate for any utility patent (because it fits within one of the statutory classes), you should then move ahead to analyze whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” Those two requirements are essentially focused on whether your invention is totally new, and when so, whether there exists a substantial difference between it and similar products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To acquire a utility patent, you have to initially see whether your invention is “novel”. Put simply, is your invention new?Have you been the very first person to possess thought of it? For instance, if you decide to apply for a patent on the light bulb, it seems quite clear that you would not be eligible to a patent, considering that the light will not be a whole 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 recognized to the general public multiple year before you file a patent application for the invention).
For the invention to be novel regarding other inventions on earth (prior art), it must just be different in certain minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel spanning a similar invention.Should you invent a square bulb, your invention would sometimes be novel compared to the Edison light (since his was round/elliptical). In the event the patent office were to cite the round Edison light against your square one as prior art to show that your particular invention had not been novel, they could be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention that is identical to yours in every single way your invention lacks novelty and is also not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly simple to overcome, since any slight variation in good shape, size, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, however the invention is novel, it might fail one other requirement mentioned previously: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, tend not to celebrate yet — it really is more challenging to fulfill the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As mentioned above, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to get over within the search for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only requirement to fulfill, then just about anything conceivable could be patented so long as it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a more difficult, complex requirement must be satisfied after the novelty real question is met. This second requirement is known as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states in part that although an invention and also the related prior art might not be “identical” (meaning that the invention is novel with regards to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable if the differences between it and the related prior art could be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the area of the actual invention.
This can be in actuality the Patent and Trademark Office’s method 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 involving the invention and the prior art.On this point there is no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there exists quite a bit of room for many different opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: differing people, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding if the invention is really obvious.
Some common types of items that are certainly not usually considered significant, and so which can be usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to help make something much lighter; changing the dimensions or color; combining pieces of the type commonly found together; substituting one popular component for an additional 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 may be used to prevent you from obtaining a patent. In other words, it defines exactly those things which the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your particular invention will not be in fact novel or to demonstrate that your invention is obvious. These eight sections can be split up into an arranged and understandable format composed of two main categories: prior art which is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are currently not the first inventor); and prior art which extends back before your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited too much time to submit for any patent).
A) Prior art which dates back prior to your date of invention: It would appear to make sense 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 as 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 when they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in america: Any evidence that your particular invention was “known” by others, in america, before 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 may still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can show that your invention was generally recognized to people before your date of invention.
2) Public use in america: Use by others from the invention you are attempting to patent in public in america, before your date of invention, can be held against your patent application through the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if someone else was publicly making use of the invention even before you conceived of this, you obviously cannot be the original and first inventor of it, and you may not should 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 from the PTO. For instance, assume that you invent a lobster de-shelling tool on June 1, 2007.The PTO may use any patents which disclose the same 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 U . S . or foreignprinted publications (like books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published prior to your date of invention will stop you from acquiring a patent.Again, the reasoning here is when your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly are certainly not the first inventor (since another person looked at it prior to deciding to) and also you are certainly not eligible to patent into it.
B)Prior art which goes back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was considered everything known just before your conception from the invention or everything proven to the public multiple year before your filing of a patent application. This means that in numerous circumstances, even if you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you may be unable to obtain a patent into it if it has entered the world of public knowledge and over one year has passed between that point along with your filing of the patent application. The purpose of this rule is always to encourage people to apply for patents on their own inventions as soon as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) in the patent law defines specifically those types of prior art which is often used against you being a “one-year bar” as follows:
1) Commercial activity in america: If the invention you want to patent was sold or offered for sale in america multiple year prior to deciding to file a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on your own invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your own invention on January 1, 2008, and offer it on the market on January 3, 2008, so as to raise some funds to get 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 instance, the PTO will reject the application to be barred because it was offered for sale multiple year before your filing date.This too will be the case if somebody apart from yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you simply conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but did not sell or offer it on the market publicly.You merely kept it to yourself.Also think that on February 1, 2008, another person conceived of your own invention and began selling it. This starts your one year clock running!If you do not file a patent on your 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 acquiring a patent. Be aware that this provision of the law prevents from getting a patent, despite the fact that there is no prior art dating back to to before your date of conception and you truly are the very first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was offered to the public for more than 1 year before your filing date because of one other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you obtaining a patent even when you are the first inventor and have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the usa: If the invention you want to Inventions Ideas was applied in america on your part or some other several year before your filing of the patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your own invention. Typical examples of public use are whenever you or somebody else display and utilize the invention in a trade show or public gathering, on television, or anywhere else where most people has potential access.The general public use do not need to be one which specifically intends to create the public conscious of the invention. Any use which is often potentially accessed through the public will suffice to begin with 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 any other printed publication on your part or by someone else, available to the public in the United States or abroad more than one year before your filing date, will prevent you from getting a patent on your invention.Be aware that even an article published by you, about your own invention, will start the main one-year clock running.So, for example, should you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it all out, this would start the one-year clock running.So too would the one-year clock start running for you personally when a complete stranger published a printed article about the subject of your invention.
4) Patented in the United States or abroad: When a United States or foreign patent covering your invention issued more than a year just before your filing date, you will be barred from getting 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 happen to be prohibited from acquiring a patent if the filing date of another patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we are discussing here, you can not get a patent on an invention which was disclosed in another patent issued over last year, even when your date of invention was prior to the filing date of the patent.