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 in which the United States Of America government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a specific concept for a very limited time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any type of monopolization in commerce, because of the belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. A good example is definitely the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years ago in to the many regional phone companies. The federal 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 within the telephone industry.
Why, then, would the us government permit a monopoly by means of Inventhelp Stories? The us government makes an exception to encourage inventors to come forward using their creations. By doing this, the us government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To begin with, it ought to be clear for you precisely how a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the homeowner from the patent to avoid other people from producing the item or using the process covered by the patent. Think of Thomas Edison and his awesome most popular patented invention, the light 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, nobody could contend with him within the light bulb business, and hence he possessed a monopoly.
However, so that you can receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison needed to give something in turn. He necessary to fully “disclose” his invention towards the public.
To acquire a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, how it operates, and the easiest way known by the inventor to really make it.It really is this disclosure for the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is that by promising inventors a monopoly in exchange for their disclosures for the public, inventors will continually make an effort to develop new technologies and disclose these to the public. 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 new technologies, because without a patent monopoly an inventor’s effort would 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 regarding their invention, and also the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights within patent will last for a restricted period.Utility patents expire twenty years once they are filed.If this was incorrect, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there could be serious consequences. For example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for your bulb, we would probably need to pay about $300 to get an easy bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to boost upon his light.Instead, after the Edison light patent expired, everyone was able to manufacture bulbs, and several companies did.The vigorous competition to perform just that after expiration in the Edison patent ended in higher quality, lower costing lights.
Varieties of patents. You can find essentially three types of patents which you should be aware of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent pertains to inventions which may have a “functional” aspect (quite simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it actually “does” something).Put simply, the one thing that is different or “special” concerning the invention has to be to get a functional purpose.To be eligible 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. Remember that just about any physical, functional invention will fall into a minumum of 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 a thing that accomplishes a job because of the interaction of their physical parts, for instance a can opener, a vehicle engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of these physical parts in which we have been concerned and that are protected through the Inventhelp.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be thought of as things that accomplish a job like a machine, but without the 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 2 by thinking of articles of manufacture as more simplistic things which typically have no moving parts. A paper clip, as an example is surely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes an activity (holding papers together), but is clearly not really a “machine” because it is an easy device which does not rely on the interaction of various parts.
C) Process: a way of accomplishing something through several steps, each step interacting in some way with a physical element, is regarded as a “process.” An activity can be a new method of manufacturing a known product or can also be a whole new use to get a known product. Board games are usually protected as a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions such as pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds like soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so forth 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 your object, rather than its “utility” or function, which is protected by way of a utility patent. In other words, in the event the invention is 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 would need to generate a version that fails to look “substantially just like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the shape and overall appearance without infringing the style patent.
A provisional patent application is really a step toward getting a utility patent, where the invention may not yet be ready to get yourself a utility patent. Quite simply, when it seems as though the invention cannot yet get yourself a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed within the Patent Office to determine the inventor’s priority to the invention.Since the inventor consistently develop the invention to make further developments that allow a utility patent to get obtained, then the inventor can “convert” the provisional application to some full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for that date if the provisional application was first filed.
A provisional patent has several benefits:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far the most well known benefit from a Provisional Patent Application is it allows the inventor to right away begin marking the item “patent pending.” This has an occasion-proven tremendous commercial value, like the “as seen in the media” label that is applied to 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 twelve months to “convert” the provisional right into a “full blown” utility application.During that year, the inventor need to commercialize the item and assess its potential. If the product appears commercially viable during that year, then this inventor is motivated to convert the provisional application into a utility application.However, unlike an ordinary utility application which can not be changed by any means, a provisional application may have additional material included in it to enhance it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips that had been obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product can be implemented and protected during those times.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor having a crucial “filing date.” Quite simply, the date that the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for getting a utility patent. Once you are sure that your invention is actually a potential candidate to get a 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.” Both of these requirements are essentially focused on whether your invention is totally new, and when so, whether you will find a substantial distinction between it and similar products within the related field.
A) Novelty: To have a utility patent, you need to initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. In other words, is the invention new?Are you currently the initial person to possess looked at it? As an example, if you were to obtain a patent on the light bulb, it seems like quite clear that you simply would not be eligible to a patent, because the light will not be a whole new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your application, would reject it based on the fact 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” before your conception in the invention or everything proven to people multiple year before you file a patent application for that invention).
To your invention to get novel with respect to other inventions on earth (prior art), it has to simply 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 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 bulb against your square one as prior art to demonstrate that the invention had not been novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which can be just like yours in each and every way your invention lacks novelty and is also not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is extremely easy to overcome, since any slight variation fit, size, combination of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even though the invention is novel, it could fail one other requirement mentioned above: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, do not celebrate yet — it is actually harder to meet the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As mentioned above, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to beat inside the pursuit of a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the sole requirement to fulfill, then just about anything conceivable might be patented provided that it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a much more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied right after the novelty question for you is met. This second requirement is known as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states to some extent that although an invention and the related prior art is probably not “identical” (meaning that the invention is novel with regards to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable in the event the differences between it and the related prior art will 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 means of subjectively judging the “quality” of an 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 in between your invention as well as the prior art.About this point there is not any room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is a large amount of room for many different opinions, considering that the requirement is inherently subjective: each person, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding whether or not the invention is really obvious.
Some common samples of items that are not usually considered significant, and so that are 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 another similar component, etc.
IV. Precisely what is considered prior art from 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 keep you from acquiring a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those activities that the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your particular invention is not in fact novel or even to show that your 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 will be not the very first inventor); and prior art which extends back just before your “filing date” (thus showing that you might have waited too long to submit for any patent).
A) Prior art which extends back before your date of invention: It might appear to sound right that if prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you should not be entitled to have a patent on that invention since you would not truly function as the first inventor. Section 102(a) of the patent law specifically describes the points which can be used as 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 america, just before your date of invention. Even if you have no patent or written documentation showing that the invention was known in america, the PTO can still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty when they can demonstrate that your invention was generally recognized to the general public before your date of invention.
2) Public use in america: Use by others in the invention you are attempting to patent in public in america, before your date of invention, can be held against your patent application by the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if someone else was publicly using the invention before you even conceived from it, you obviously can not be the initial and first inventor of this, and you do not should get a patent for this.
3) Patented in the United States or abroad: Any U . S . or foreign patents which issued just before your date of invention and which disclose your invention will likely be used against your patent application through the PTO. As an example, believe 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 United States or abroad: Any U . S . or foreignprinted publications (like books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published before your date of invention will keep you from obtaining a patent.Again, the reasoning here is that if your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly are not the very first inventor (since someone else thought of it prior to deciding to) and you also are certainly not entitled to patent onto it.
B)Prior art which extends back just before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was described as everything known before your conception of the invention or everything known to the public multiple year before your filing of a patent application. What this means is that in many circumstances, even if you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to acquire a patent into it if this has entered the arena of public knowledge and over twelve months has gone by between that point along with your filing of a patent application. The objective of this rule is to encourage people to apply for patents on their 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 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 for sale in the usa several year before you decide to file a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of the invention on January 1, 2008, and provide it on the market on January 3, 2008, so as to raise some funds to apply for a patent. You need to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (1 year from your day you offered it available for sale).Should you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for example, the PTO will reject the application as being barred since it was offered on the market several year before your filing date.This is the case if someone other than yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that 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 believe that on February 1, 2008, somebody else conceived of your 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, (1 year from your date one other person began selling it) then you also will likely be forever barred from getting a patent. Be aware that this provision of the law prevents you from acquiring a patent, even though there is not any prior art dating back to to before your date of conception and you also truly are the first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), simply because the invention was available to the public for over one year before your filing date due to one other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin your odds of acquiring a patent even when you are the first inventor and have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in america: When the invention you wish to How To Get A Patent On An Idea was applied in the United States by you or another multiple year before your filing of the patent application, then you are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your own invention. Typical samples of public use are when you or somebody else display and make use of the invention with a trade exhibition or public gathering, on tv, or anywhere else where most people has potential access.People use need not be one which specifically intends to make the public aware of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed through the public will suffice to start the main 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 other printed publication by you or by another individual, available to people in america or abroad several year before your filing date, will keep you from obtaining a patent on your own invention.Note that even a post authored by you, about your own invention, will start the main one-year clock running.So, for instance, if you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it, this would start the main one-year clock running.So too would usually 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 america or abroad: If a U . S . or foreign patent covering your invention issued more than a year prior to your filing date, you will end up barred from obtaining a patent. Compare this using the previous section regarding U . S . and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) from the patent law, you are prohibited from acquiring a patent if 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 with an invention which was disclosed in another patent issued over last year, even if your date of invention was before the filing date of this patent.