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 Of America government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a particular concept for a limited time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any type of monopolization in commerce, due to the belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. An excellent example will be the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years back in to 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 over the telephone industry.
Why, then, would the government permit a monopoly by means of Inventhelp Phone Number? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors ahead forward using their creations. By doing this, the federal government actually promotes advancements in science and technology.
To start with, it should be clear for you just how a patent acts as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the owner of the patent to avoid anyone else from producing the merchandise or utilizing the process protected by the patent. Consider Thomas Edison along with his most popular patented invention, the sunshine bulb. Together with his patent for your bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent some other person or company from producing, using or selling light bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no person could contest with him within the bulb business, and therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, to be able to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in return. He needed to fully “disclose” his invention to the public.
To have a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose exactly what the invention is, how 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 your monopoly.The logic for accomplishing this is the fact that by promising inventors a monopoly in turn for their disclosures to the public, inventors will continually make an effort to develop 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 will be few incentives to build up technologies, because with no patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work will bring him no financial reward.Fearing that their invention will be stolen whenever 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 within a patent can last for a restricted period.Utility patents expire two decades when they are filed.If this was incorrect, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there will 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 buy a mild bulb today.Without competition, there would be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light.Instead, when the Edison bulb patent expired, everyone was liberated to manufacture lights, and several companies did.The vigorous competition to accomplish exactly that after expiration of the Edison patent ended in better quality, lower costing light bulbs.
Kinds of patents. You can find essentially three types of patents which you ought to know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent pertains to inventions which may have a “functional” aspect (in other words, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it actually “does” something).Quite simply, the thing which is different or “special” concerning the invention must be for any functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention also must fall within one or more in the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Remember that almost any physical, functional invention will fall under one or more of such categories, so that you do not need to be worried about which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: consider a “machine” as a thing that accomplishes an activity due to the interaction of the physical parts, for instance a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of such physical parts that we have been concerned and which can be protected through the How To Patent An Idea With Inventhelp.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” needs to be thought of as things which accomplish an activity similar to a machine, but minus the interaction of various physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may seem to be similar in many instances, you can distinguish both by considering articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic items that routinely have no moving parts. A paper clip, for example is an article of manufacture.It accomplishes an activity (holding papers together), but is clearly not a “machine” because it is a basic device which will not rely on the interaction of various 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.” An activity can be a new way of manufacturing a known product or can also be a new use for a known product. Board games are usually protected as being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions such as pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds including soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and the like could be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes tend to be protected in this manner.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of an object, rather than its “utility” or function, which is protected by a utility patent. In other words, when the invention is a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might supply the appropriate protection. To avoid infringement, a copier would have to produce a version that does not look “substantially just like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the design and overall look without infringing the style patent.
A provisional patent application is really a step toward getting a utility patent, in which the invention may not yet be ready to obtain a utility patent. In other words, if this seems like the invention cannot yet get yourself a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed in the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority to the invention.Because the inventor consistently develop the invention and make further developments which permit a utility patent to be obtained, then your inventor can “convert” the provisional application to some full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for your date when the provisional application was initially filed.
A provisional patent has several advantages:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far the most well known advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is it allows the inventor to right away begin marking the merchandise “patent pending.” This has a time-proven tremendous commercial value, like the “as seen on television” label that is placed on many products. A product or service bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses a professional marketing advantage from the very beginning.
B) Ability to enhance the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has 1 year to “convert” the provisional into a “full blown” utility application.During that year, the inventor should try to commercialize the item and assess its potential. In the event the product appears commercially viable during that year, then this inventor is encouraged to convert the provisional application in to a utility application.However, unlike a normal utility application which can not be changed in any way, a provisional application might have additional material put into it to boost it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips that had been obtained by the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product can be implemented and guarded during those times.
C) Establishment of any filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor using 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 acquiring a utility patent. When you are certain your invention is actually a potential candidate to get a utility patent (since it fits within one of many 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 worried about whether your invention is new, and when so, whether there is a substantial difference between it and similar products inside the related field.
A) Novelty: To acquire a utility patent, you must initially decide if your invention is “novel”. Put simply, is your invention new?Have you been the very first person to possess looked at it? For instance, if you decide to make application for a patent on the light, it seems quite clear that you simply would not entitled to a patent, considering that the light bulb will not be a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your application, would reject it based on the truth 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” before your conception of the invention or everything proven to the general public multiple year before you file a patent application for the invention).
For the invention to be novel regarding other inventions in the world (prior art), it must 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 sometimes be novel when compared to Edison bulb (since his was round/elliptical). If the patent office were to cite the round Edison light against your square one as prior art to demonstrate that your particular invention was not novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which is just like yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is extremely easy to overcome, since any slight variation in shape, size, mixture of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, although the invention is novel, it might fail another requirement stated earlier: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, usually do not celebrate yet — it is harder to meet the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As stated before, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to get over within the quest for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only requirement to satisfy, then just about anything conceivable might be patented as long as it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied right after the novelty question for you is met. This second requirement is called “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states in part that although an invention and also the related prior art may not be “identical” (which means 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 also the related prior art would be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the actual invention.
This is in fact 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 otherwise — it is actually almost always quite evident whether any differences exist between your invention and the prior art.On this point there is absolutely no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there exists a large amount of room for many different opinions, considering that the requirement is inherently subjective: different people, including different Examiners at the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding if the invention is truly obvious.
Some common samples of things that usually are not usually considered significant, and thus 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 popular component for an additional similar component, etc.
IV. What 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 stop you from acquiring a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those activities which the PTO can cite against you so as to prove that your invention is not really actually novel or to demonstrate that your invention is obvious. These eight sections could be divided into a structured and understandable format comprising two main categories: prior art that is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are not the very first inventor); and prior art which extends back just before your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited too long to submit for a patent).
A) Prior art which dates back prior to your date of invention: It might seem to sound right that when 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 be the first inventor. Section 102(a) in the patent law specifically describes the points which can be used as prior art should they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the United States: Any evidence that the 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 the invention was known in the usa, the PTO might still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can demonstrate that your invention was generally proven to people just before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the usa: Use by others in the invention you are attempting to patent in public in the United States, before your date of invention, may be held against your patent application from the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if someone else was publicly using the invention even before you conceived from it, you obviously should not be the initial and first inventor of it, and you do not deserve to receive a patent because of it.
3) Patented in the United States or abroad: Any United States or foreign patents which issued before your date of invention and which disclose your invention is going to be used against your patent application through the PTO. For example, think that you invent a lobster de-shelling tool on June 1, 2007.The PTO are able to use any patents which disclose an identical lobster de-shelling tool, U . S . 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 (like books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published prior to your date of invention will keep you from acquiring a patent.Again, the reasoning here is when your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you definitely are not the first inventor (since another person considered it prior to deciding to) and you also are certainly not eligible for patent onto it.
B)Prior art which dates back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was described as everything known prior to your conception in the invention or everything proven to people several year before your filing of any patent application. Therefore that in many circumstances, even if you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will end up unable to obtain a patent into it if it has entered the world of public knowledge and over twelve months has gone by between that point along with your filing of any patent application. The purpose of this rule would be to persuade folks to get patents on their inventions as soon as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) of the patent law defines specifically those kinds of prior art which is often used against you as being a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in america: In the event the invention you want to patent was sold or offered on the market in the usa several year prior to deciding to file a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your own invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your invention on January 1, 2008, and offer it available for sale 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).If you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, as an example, the PTO will reject the application for being barred because it was offered on the market multiple 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 failed to sell or offer it available for sale publicly.You merely kept it to yourself.Also assume that on February 1, 2008, another person conceived of the invention and began selling it. This starts your twelve months clock running!Unless you file a patent on your invention by February 2, 2009, (twelve months through the date one other person began selling it) then you definitely also will likely be forever barred from obtaining a patent. Note that this provision of the law prevents you against getting a patent, although there is no prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you also are indeed the first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), simply because the invention was accessible to the general public more than 1 year before your filing date due to the other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin your chances of obtaining a patent even when you are the first inventor and have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: When the invention you wish to Inventions was used in the United States on your part or some other multiple year before your filing of a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your own invention. Typical examples of public use are once you or another person display and use the invention at a trade exhibition or public gathering, on television, or elsewhere where the public has potential access.People use need not be one which specifically promises to create the public aware of the invention. Any use which is often potentially accessed through the public will suffice to start the one year clock running (but a secret use will usually not invoke usually the one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in the United States or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or any other printed publication on your part or by another person, accessible to people in the United States or abroad multiple year before your filing date, will keep you from acquiring a patent on the invention.Remember that even a write-up published by you, concerning your own invention, will begin the one-year clock running.So, for instance, if you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it out, this could start the one-year clock running.So too would the main one-year clock start running to suit your needs in case a complete stranger published a printed article about the topic of your invention.
4) Patented in the usa or abroad: When a U . S . or foreign patent covering your invention issued over a year just before your filing date, you may be barred from getting a patent. Compare this using the previous section regarding United States and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) from the patent law, you might be prohibited from obtaining a patent when 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 yourself a patent on an invention which had been disclosed in another patent issued over last year, even when your date of invention was ahead of the filing date of the patent.