What is a patent? A U . S . Patent is essentially a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is acontract in which the United States government expressly permits a person 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 the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years back into the many regional phone companies. The us 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 federal government permit a monopoly by means of a patent? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors in the future forward with their creations. By doing this, the government actually promotes advancements in science and technology.
To begin with, it ought to be clear to you personally just the way a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the owner of the Patent Help to stop someone else from producing the item or utilizing the process covered by the patent. Consider Thomas Edison and his awesome most well-known patented invention, the light bulb. Together with his patent for the light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent every other person or company from producing, using or selling light bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no person could contend with him in the light bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison needed to give something in return. He necessary to fully “disclose” his invention to the public. To acquire a United States Of America Patent, an inventor must fully disclose what the invention is, the actual way it operates, and the most effective way known through the inventor making it.It is actually this disclosure towards the public which entitles the inventor to your monopoly.The logic for doing this is the fact that by promising inventors a monopoly in turn for disclosures for the public, inventors will continually attempt to develop new technologies and disclose them to the general public. Providing these with the monopoly allows them to profit financially from the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there could be few incentives to develop new technologies, because without a patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work will bring him no financial reward.Fearing their invention would be stolen once they attempt 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 will last for a restricted period.Utility patents expire 20 years after they are filed.If the was not the case, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there will be serious consequences. For instance, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for that light bulb, we might probably have to pay about $300 to buy a light bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light bulb.Instead, once the Edison light bulb patent expired, everyone was free to manufacture light bulbs, and lots of companies did.The vigorous competition to do just that after expiration of the How To Prototype An Invention resulted in better quality, lower costing light bulbs.
II. Kinds of patents
You can find essentially three kinds of patents which you should be aware of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent relates to inventions which have a “functional” aspect (put simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it genuinely “does” something).Quite simply, the one thing that is different or “special” concerning the invention should be for a functional purpose.To be eligible for utility patent protection, an invention must also fall within a minumum of one of the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Stay in mind that just about any physical, functional invention will fall into one or more of those categories, so that you need not be concerned with which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: imagine a “machine” as something which accomplishes a task as a result of interaction of its physical parts, like a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of these physical parts that we are concerned and which are protected through the patent.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be thought of as things which accomplish an activity just like a piece of equipment, but with no interaction of various physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may are most often similar in many cases, you can distinguish the two by thinking of articles of manufacture as more simplistic items that typically have no moving parts. A paper clip, for instance is an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a task (holding papers together), but is clearly not a “machine” as it is an easy device which does not rely on the interaction of numerous parts.
C) Process: an easy method of performing something through several steps, each step interacting in some manner with a physical element, is known as a “process.” An activity can be a new method of manufacturing a known product or can even be considered a new use for any known product. Board games are typically protected being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions including pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds including soap, concrete, paint, plastic, as well as the like can be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes are frequently protected in this way.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of your object, as opposed to its “utility” or function, which can be protected with a utility patent. In other words, when the invention is actually a useful object which has a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might supply the appropriate protection. In order to avoid infringement, a copier will have to produce a version that fails to look “substantially like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the form and overall appearance without infringing the style patent.
A provisional patent application is a step toward acquiring a utility patent, where invention might not yet anticipate to obtain a utility patent. In other words, when it seems as though the invention cannot yet get 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 consistently develop the invention making further developments which permit 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 your date when the provisional application was filed.
A provisional patent has several advantages:
A) Patent Pending Status: Probably the most well-known benefit from a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to right away begin marking the item “patent pending.” It has a time-proven tremendous commercial value, like the “as seen on television” label which can be placed on many products. An item bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses an industrial marketing advantage right in the first place.
B) Capability to increase the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has twelve months to “convert” the provisional right into a “full blown” utility application.In that year, the inventor need to try to commercialize the product and assess its potential. In the event 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 normal utility application which can not be changed in any respect, a provisional application may have additional material put into it to boost it upon its conversion within 1 year.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips that were obtained through the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization from the product can be implemented and protected during those times.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor with a crucial “filing date.” Quite simply, the date the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for the later filed/converted utility patent.
III. Requirements for obtaining a utility patent. Once you are certain your invention is actually a potential candidate for any utility patent (because it fits within one of the statutory classes), you ought to then move ahead to evaluate whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” These two requirements are essentially concerned with whether your invention is new, and if so, whether there is a substantial difference between it and other products inside the related field.
A) Novelty: To have a utility patent, you must initially see whether your invention is “novel”. Quite simply, is your invention new?Are you the initial person to possess thought of it? For example, should you obtain a patent on the light bulb, it seems like quite clear that you simply would not really entitled to a patent, considering that the light bulb is not really a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your application, would reject it based upon 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 bulb patent against you as relevant “prior art” (prior art is everything “known” prior to your conception of the invention or everything proven to the public several year before you file a patent application for that invention).
To your invention to be novel regarding other inventions in the world (prior art), it should simply be different in certain minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel over a similar invention.Should you invent a square light bulb, your invention would actually be novel compared to the Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). If the patent office were to cite the round Edison light bulb against your square one as prior art to show that your particular invention was not novel, they would be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention that is identical to yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and is also not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly easy to overcome, since any slight variation fit, size, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even though the invention is novel, it might fail another requirement mentioned above: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, usually do not celebrate yet — it really is more challenging to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to get over within the quest for Inventhelp Ideas. Indeed, if novelty were the only real requirement in order to satisfy, then just about anything conceivable might be patented as long since it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a much more difficult, complex requirement has to be satisfied right after the novelty question is met. This second requirement is known as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states partly that although an invention and the related prior art might not really “identical” (which means that the invention is novel with respect to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable if the differences between it as well as the related prior art will be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the area of the specific invention.
This is in actuality the Patent and Trademark Office’s means of subjectively judging the “quality” of your invention. Clearly the PTO has no latitude in judging whether your invention is novel or not — it really is typically quite evident whether any differences exist involving the invention and also the prior art.On this point there is absolutely no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is quite a bit of room for a number of opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: each person, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding whether or not the invention is definitely obvious.
Some common types of things that are certainly not usually considered significant, and thus which are usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to create something lighter in weight; changing the dimensions or color; combining pieces of what type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for another similar component, etc.
IV. What is considered prior art by 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 keep you from getting a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those ideas which the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your particular invention will not be actually novel or show that your particular invention is obvious. These eight sections can be broken down into a structured and understandable format composed of 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 dates back prior to 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 could appear to seem sensible that if prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you should not be entitled to obtain a patent on that invention since you would not truly become the first inventor. Section 102(a) from the patent law specifically describes the points which can be utilized for prior art when they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the usa: Any evidence that the invention was “known” by others, in the United States, just before your date of invention. Even when there is no patent or written documentation showing that your invention was known in america, the PTO may still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty when they can show that your particular invention was generally known to people before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the usa: Use by others in 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 through the PTO. This should make clear sense, since if a person else was publicly making use of the invention before you even conceived from it, you obviously can not be the first and first inventor of it, and you do not should receive a patent because of it.
3) Patented in america or abroad: Any U . S . 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. As an example, think that you invent a lobster de-shelling tool on June 1, 2007.The PTO can 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 United States Of America or foreignprinted publications (such as books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published just before 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 usually are not the initial inventor (since another person looked at it before you) and you also usually are not eligible for patent on it.
B)Prior art which dates back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was considered everything known before your conception in the invention or everything proven to the public more than one year before your filing of a patent application. What this means is that in lots of circumstances, even even though you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to acquire a patent into it if it has entered the arena of public knowledge and over twelve months has passed between that point along with your filing of the patent application. The purpose of this rule would be to encourage people to get patents on their inventions as quickly as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) of the patent law defines specifically those kinds of prior art which can be applied against you being a “one-year bar” as follows:
1) Commercial activity in america: When the invention you intend to patent was sold or offered on the market in the usa more than one year before you file a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your own invention on January 1, 2008, and provide it available for sale on January 3, 2008, so as to raise some funds to get a patent. You must file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (twelve months from your day you offered it available for sale).In the event 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 more than one year just before your filing date.This too will be the case if somebody other than 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 just kept it to yourself.Also believe that on February 1, 2008, another person conceived of your invention and began selling it. This starts your twelve months clock running!Should you not file a patent on your own invention by February 2, 2009, (twelve months through the date one other person began selling it) then you definitely also is going to be forever barred from getting a patent. Note this provision of the law prevents you from acquiring a patent, even though there is not any prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you are indeed the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was accessible to people for over twelve months 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 though you are the first inventor and also have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the usa: If the invention you intend to patent was utilized in the usa by you or another several year before your filing of any patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on your own invention. Typical examples of public use are whenever you or somebody else display and utilize the invention at a trade show or public gathering, on tv, or anywhere else where the general public has potential access.The public use will not need to be one that specifically promises to have the public aware of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed through the public will suffice to begin with the one year clock running (but a secret use will most likely not invoke the 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, offered to the public in america or abroad several year before your filing date, will prevent you from obtaining a patent on your own invention.Note that even a post published by you, about your own invention, will start the one-year clock running.So, for instance, if you detailed your invention in a press ndefzr and mailed it out, this would start the main one-year clock running.So too would the one-year clock start running for you if a complete stranger published a printed article about the main topic of your invention.
4) Patented in the United States or abroad: When a U . S . or foreign patent covering your invention issued spanning a year before your filing date, you may be barred from getting a patent. Compare this using the previous section regarding United States Of America 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 we are discussing here, you cannot obtain a patent with an invention which was disclosed in another patent issued over this past year, even in case your date of invention was before the filing date of the patent.