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 U . S . government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a certain concept for a limited time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any kind 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 ago to the many regional phone companies. The government, particularly 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 New Invention Ideas? The government makes an exception to encourage inventors to come forward with their creations. In doing so, the government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To begin with, it should be clear to you just how a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the homeowner in the patent to avoid someone else from producing the merchandise or using the process included in the patent. Consider Thomas Edison along with his most famous patented invention, the light bulb. Along with his patent for the light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent any other person or company from producing, using or selling bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no person could compete with him within the light bulb business, and hence he possessed a monopoly.
However, to be able to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison had to give something in exchange. He necessary to fully “disclose” his invention for the public.
To obtain a United States Of America Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, how it operates, and the easiest way known from the inventor making it.It really is this disclosure towards the public which entitles the inventor to your monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is that by promising inventors a monopoly in exchange for his or her disclosures to the public, inventors will continually attempt to develop new technologies and disclose these to people. Providing all of them with the monopoly allows them to profit financially through the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to develop technologies, because with no patent monopoly an inventor’s effort will bring him no financial reward.Fearing that the invention will be stolen once they try to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul regarding their invention, and also the public would never benefit.
The grant of rights within patent can last for a small period.Utility patents expire two decades once they are filed.If the was untrue, 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 might probably need to pay about $300 to buy a light bulb today.Without competition, there would be little incentive for Edison to boost upon his light bulb.Instead, when the Edison light bulb patent expired, everyone was liberated to manufacture bulbs, and several companies did.The vigorous competition to do just that after expiration of the Edison patent ended in better quality, lower costing lights.
Types of patents. You will find essentially three kinds of patents which you ought to know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent relates to inventions which have a “functional” aspect (quite simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it actually “does” something).In other words, the one thing which can be different or “special” about 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. Remember that almost any physical, functional invention will fall into a minumum of one of such categories, which means 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 the physical parts, for instance a can opener, a car engine, a fax machine, etc.It is the combination and interconnection of such physical parts that we have been concerned and which are protected from the Market An Invention Idea.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be looked at as things that accomplish an activity like a machine, but with no interaction of varied physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may seem to be similar in many instances, it is possible to distinguish the 2 by considering articles of manufacture as more simplistic items 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” because it is an easy device which will not rely on the interaction of numerous parts.
C) Process: a means of doing something through several steps, each step interacting in some way having a physical element, is known as a “process.” A procedure can be a new way of manufacturing a known product or can even be a brand new use for a known product. Board games are typically protected as being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions including pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds such as soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so on may 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, instead of its “utility” or function, which is protected by a utility patent. In other words, in the event the invention is a useful object which has a novel shape or overall look, a design patent might give you the appropriate protection. In order to avoid infringement, a copier would have to generate a version that fails to look “substantially like 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 obtaining a utility patent, where the invention might not yet be ready to obtain a utility patent. In other words, if it seems as if 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 get obtained, then your 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 first filed.
A provisional patent has several positive aspects:
A) Patent Pending Status: The most well known benefit of a Provisional Patent Application is it allows the inventor to right away begin marking the product “patent pending.” This has an occasion-proven tremendous commercial value, like the “as seen on television” label which is put on many products. An item bearing these two 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 right into 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 during that year, then the inventor is asked to convert the provisional application right into a utility application.However, unlike an ordinary utility application which can not be changed by any means, a provisional application might 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 by the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product can be implemented and guarded during those times.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor using 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.
Requirements for acquiring a utility patent. When you are certain your invention is actually a potential candidate to get a utility patent (because it fits within one of the statutory classes), you ought to then move ahead to assess 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 in case so, whether you will find a substantial distinction between it and other products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To have a utility patent, you must initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. In other words, is the invention new?Are you currently the initial person to possess considered it? For example, should you make application for a patent on the bulb, it seems like quite clear which you would not be eligible to a patent, since the light bulb is not a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based upon the truth that Edison invented the light bulb many years ago. In rejecting your patent application, the Patent Office would actually cite the Edison bulb patent against you as relevant “prior art” (prior art is everything “known” just before your conception from the invention or everything known to the public more than one year before you decide to file a patent application for the invention).
For the invention to get novel with regards to other inventions in the world (prior art), it should simply be different in some minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel spanning a similar invention.Should you invent a square light, your invention would really be novel when compared to Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). If the patent office would cite the round Edison light bulb against your square one as prior art to show that your invention was not novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which can be identical to yours in every single way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is extremely simple to overcome, since any slight variation fit, size, mixture of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, although the invention is novel, it could fail one other requirement mentioned above: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, do not celebrate yet — it is more challenging to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As stated before, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to overcome within the quest for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only real requirement in order to satisfy, then just about anything conceivable could be patented as long as it differed slightly from all of previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement must be satisfied 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 as well as the related prior art is probably not “identical” (which means that the invention is novel with regards to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable if the differences between it and also the related prior art could be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the specific invention.
This is in actuality the Patent and Trademark Office’s means of subjectively judging the “quality” of the invention. Clearly the PTO has no latitude in judging whether your invention is novel or otherwise not — it is actually more often than not quite evident whether any differences exist in between your invention and the prior art.On this point there is no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there exists a substantial amount of room for various opinions, because the requirement is inherently subjective: different people, including different Examiners in the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding whether or not the invention is definitely obvious.
Some common samples of items that usually are not usually considered significant, and thus which can be usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to help make something lighter in weight; changing the dimensions or color; combining items of the type commonly found together; substituting one well known 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 can be used to stop you from getting a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those ideas in which the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that the invention is not in reality novel or reveal that your invention is obvious. These eight sections can be split up into an arranged and understandable format consisting of two main categories: prior art which is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you will be not the initial inventor); and prior art which dates back before your “filing date” (thus showing which you might have waited too long to submit to get a patent).
A) Prior art which goes back just before your date of invention: It could manage to seem sensible that when prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you must not be entitled to obtain a patent on that invention since you would not truly become the first inventor. Section 102(a) in the patent law specifically describes those things which can be used as prior art if they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the United States: Any evidence that your particular invention was “known” by others, in the usa, before your date of invention. Even if 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 demonstrate that your invention was generally known to the general 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 places in the United States, just before your date of invention, may 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 should not be the original and first inventor of it, and you do not deserve to receive a patent for it.
3) Patented in the United States or abroad: Any United States Of America 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. As an example, think 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, 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 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 getting a patent.Again, the reasoning here is when your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you definitely usually are not the initial inventor (since another person considered it before you) and you are certainly not entitled to patent onto it.
B)Prior art which dates back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was described as everything known before your conception in the invention or everything recognized to people more than one year before your filing of a 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 onto it if this has entered the arena of public knowledge and more than one year has gone by between that time as well as your filing of any patent application. The goal of this rule is to persuade folks to apply for patents on the inventions as soon 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” as follows:
1) Commercial activity in the United States: In the event the invention you want to patent was sold or offered available for sale in the usa more than one year before you decide to file a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your invention on January 1, 2008, and offer it on the market on January 3, 2008, in an effort to raise some funds to try to get a patent. You have to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (1 year from the 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 the application as being barred since it was offered available for sale several year just before your filing date.This too is the case if someone besides yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it for sale publicly.You simply kept it to yourself.Also believe that on February 1, 2008, someone else conceived of your invention and began selling it. This starts your one year clock running!Should you not file a patent on your invention by February 2, 2009, (1 year through the date one other person began selling it) then you also is going to be forever barred from acquiring a patent. Be aware that this provision in the law prevents you against getting a patent, although there is no prior art going back to before your date of conception and you truly are the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), for the reason that the invention was offered to people more than twelve months before your filing date because of another person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin your odds of obtaining a patent even though you are the first inventor and also have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in america: In the event the invention you intend to Inventhelp Pittsburgh was used in the usa on your part or another more than one year before your filing of any patent application, then you are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your invention. Typical examples of public use are once you or somebody else display and utilize the invention with a trade exhibition or public gathering, on television, or elsewhere where most people has potential access.The public use do not need to be the one that specifically intends to have the public conscious of the invention. Any use which may be potentially accessed by the public will suffice to begin with the one year clock running (but a secret use will often not invoke usually 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 another individual, offered to people in america or abroad multiple year before your filing date, will keep you from getting a patent on your invention.Be aware that even an article authored by you, regarding your own invention, will start the main one-year clock running.So, for instance, should you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it, this could start the main one-year clock running.So too would the main one-year clock start running for you personally if a complete stranger published a printed article about the subject of your invention.
4) Patented in america or abroad: If a United States or foreign patent covering your invention issued over a year just before your filing date, you will be barred from acquiring 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 might be prohibited from getting a patent when the filing date of another patent is sooner than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which our company is discussing here, you cannot get yourself a patent upon an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over this past year, even if your date of invention was prior to the filing date of this patent.