What is a patent? A United States Patent is actually 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 short 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 is definitely the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years ago in to the many regional phone companies. The federal government, particularly 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 How To Pitch An Invention To A Company? The government makes an exception to encourage inventors ahead forward using their creations. By doing this, the government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To begin with, it needs to be clear to you personally just how a patent works as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the homeowner of the patent to stop anyone else from producing the merchandise or utilizing the process protected by the patent. Think about Thomas Edison and his awesome most well-known 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 bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no one could contest with him inside the light business, and hence he possessed a monopoly.
However, so that you can receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison had to give something in return. He needed to fully “disclose” his invention for the public.
To acquire a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose exactly what the invention is, the way it operates, and the most effective way known by the inventor to really make it.It is this disclosure towards the public which entitles the inventor to some monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is the fact by promising inventors a monopoly in turn for their disclosures towards the public, inventors will continually attempt to develop new technologies and disclose these to the general public. Providing all of them with the monopoly allows them to profit financially through the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there would be few incentives to build up technologies, because without a patent monopoly an inventor’s work will bring him no financial reward.Fearing that their invention will be stolen when 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 limited period.Utility patents expire two decades when they are filed.If this type of was untrue, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there will be serious consequences. As an example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for the bulb, we may probably must pay about $300 to buy a mild bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to boost upon his light bulb.Instead, once the Edison bulb patent expired, everybody was free to manufacture light bulbs, and several companies did.The vigorous competition to accomplish exactly that after expiration from the Edison patent led to higher quality, lower costing bulbs.
Types 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 applies to inventions that have a “functional” aspect (in other words, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it really “does” something).In other words, the thing that is different or “special” concerning the invention has to be for any functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention should also 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 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 an activity because of 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 these physical parts with which we are concerned and which are protected from the Patent Help.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be thought of as things which accomplish a task just like a machine, but with no interaction of varied physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may are most often similar in many cases, you are able to distinguish the 2 by thinking about articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic things which typically have no moving parts. A paper clip, for example is an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a task (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 performing something through one or more steps, each step interacting in some manner using a physical element, is regarded as a “process.” An activity could be a new method of manufacturing a known product or can even be a whole new use for a known product. Board games are usually protected being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions including pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds like soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and the like 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 an object, rather than its “utility” or function, which can be protected with a utility patent. In other words, in the event the invention is really a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might provide the appropriate protection. To prevent infringement, a copier will have to generate 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 obtaining a utility patent, in which the invention might not yet be ready to obtain a utility patent. Quite simply, when it seems as if the invention cannot yet get a utility patent, the provisional application could be filed within the Patent Office to determine the inventor’s priority to the invention.Since the inventor continues to develop the invention making further developments that allow a utility patent to get obtained, then the inventor can “convert” the provisional application to your full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for the date once the provisional application was first filed.
A provisional patent has several benefits:
A) Patent Pending Status: The most well known advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the product “patent pending.” This has a period-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen on TV” label which can be put 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 improve the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has twelve months to “convert” the provisional into a “full blown” utility application.In that year, the inventor should try to commercialize the merchandise and assess its potential. In the event the product appears commercially viable during that year, then this inventor is motivated to convert the provisional application right into a utility application.However, unlike a normal utility application which should not be changed by any means, a provisional application might have additional material put into it to improve it upon its conversion within 1 year.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips which were obtained through the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization in the product can be implemented and protected during that time.
C) Establishment of any filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor using a crucial “filing date.” Quite simply, the date that the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for getting a utility patent. Once you are sure that your invention is a potential candidate for any utility patent (since it fits within one of many statutory classes), you need to then move ahead to assess whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” These two requirements are essentially worried about whether your invention is new, and in case so, whether there is a substantial distinction between it and similar products within the related field.
A) Novelty: To obtain a utility patent, you have to initially see whether your invention is “novel”. In other words, is the invention new?Have you been the first person to have considered it? As an example, if you were to apply for a patent on the light bulb, it seems quite clear which you would not eligible for 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 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 patent against you as relevant “prior art” (prior art is everything “known” prior to your conception from the invention or everything known to people multiple year prior to deciding to file a patent application for your invention).
To your invention to become novel with respect to other inventions in the world (prior art), it has to just be different in a few minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel more than a similar invention.Should you invent a square light bulb, your invention would sometimes be novel when compared to Edison bulb (since his was round/elliptical). When the patent office were to cite the round Edison bulb against your square one as prior art to demonstrate that your particular invention had not been novel, they might be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which can be just like yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and it is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is extremely easy to overcome, since any slight variation in good shape, size, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, although the invention is novel, it may fail the other 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 meet the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As mentioned above, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to get over within the pursuit of a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only requirement to satisfy, then just about everything conceivable might be patented provided that it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied right after the novelty question 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 the invention is novel with regards to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable when the differences between it and the related prior art will be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the area of the specific invention.
This is in fact 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 not — it is almost always 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: different people, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding whether or not the invention is truly obvious.
Some common samples of things that are certainly not usually considered significant, and therefore which are usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to make something much lighter; changing the dimensions or color; combining pieces of the type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for the next 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 varieties of prior art which can be used to stop you from obtaining a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those ideas that the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your invention will not be in fact novel or to demonstrate that your invention is obvious. These eight sections may be broken down into a structured and understandable format consisting of two main categories: prior art which can be dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are currently not the initial inventor); and prior art which goes back prior to your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited too long to submit to get a patent).
A) Prior art which goes back just before your date of invention: It could appear 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 become the first inventor. Section 102(a) of the patent law specifically describes the things which bring prior art when they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in the usa: Any evidence that your particular invention was “known” by others, in america, just before your date of invention. Even when there is no patent or written documentation showing that the invention was known in the United States, the PTO may still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty when they can demonstrate that your invention was generally known to the public just before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the United States: Use by others from the invention you are trying to patent in public areas in the usa, prior to your date of invention, can be held against your patent application from the PTO. This should make clear sense, since if a person else was publicly using the invention before you even conceived of it, you obviously should not be the original and first inventor from it, and you may not need to get a patent for this.
3) Patented in america or abroad: Any United States or foreign patents which issued before your date of invention and which disclose your invention will likely be used against your patent application from the PTO. As an example, believe 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 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 obtaining a patent.Again, the reasoning here is that if your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly are certainly not the first inventor (since somebody else looked at it before you decide to) and you also usually are not eligible to patent on it.
B)Prior art which dates back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was considered everything known just before your conception in the invention or everything proven to the public multiple year before your filing of a patent application. Therefore that in lots of circumstances, even when you were the first one to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to acquire a patent onto it if it has entered the arena of public knowledge and over 1 year has gone by between that time and your filing of a patent application. The purpose of this rule is to encourage people to try to get patents on their own inventions as soon as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) in the patent law defines specifically those kinds of prior art which is often used against you being a “one-year bar” as follows:
1) Commercial activity in america: When the invention you want to patent was sold or offered available for sale in america several year prior to deciding to file a patent application, then you are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your own invention on January 1, 2008, and provide it for sale 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 on the market).In the event you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for example, the PTO will reject the application for being barred as it was offered available for sale more than one year just before your filing date.This is the case if someone other than yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still which you conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it on the market publicly.You merely kept it to yourself.Also assume that on February 1, 2008, someone else 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 own invention by February 2, 2009, (one year through the date one other person began selling it) then you certainly also will be forever barred from getting a patent. Note that this provision from the law prevents you against acquiring a patent, despite the fact that there is absolutely no prior art going back to before your date of conception and you also really are the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), simply because the invention was accessible to people for over twelve months before your filing date due to one other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you getting a patent even if you are the initial inventor and have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: In the event the invention you intend to Inventhelp Caveman Commercials was utilized in america on your part or another multiple year before your filing of a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on the invention. Typical examples of public use are whenever you or someone else display and utilize the invention at a trade exhibition or public gathering, on tv, or anywhere else where the public has potential access.The general public use need not be one which specifically plans to make the public mindful of the invention. Any use which is often potentially accessed by the public will suffice to begin the one year clock running (but a secret use will usually 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 another person, offered to the public in america or abroad more than one year before your filing date, will stop you from obtaining a patent on your own invention.Be aware that even an article published by you, concerning your own invention, will start usually the one-year clock running.So, for instance, in the event you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it out, this could start usually the one-year clock running.So too would usually the one-year clock start running for you personally in case a complete stranger published a printed article about the main topic of your invention.
4) Patented in america or abroad: When a United States Of America or foreign patent covering your invention issued more than a year just before your filing date, you will end up barred from getting a patent. Compare this with the previous section regarding United States Of America and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) of the patent law, you might be prohibited from obtaining a patent when the filing date of some other patent is sooner 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 a year ago, even though your date of invention was ahead of the filing date of the patent.