What is a patent? A United States Of America Patent is actually a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is a contract where the United States government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a specific concept for a short time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any sort 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 ago in to the many regional phone companies. The us government, specifically 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 government permit a monopoly as Idea Help? The government makes an exception to encourage inventors in the future forward using their creations. By doing this, the federal government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To begin with, it needs to be clear for you precisely how a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the property owner of the patent to stop other people from producing the merchandise or making use of the process covered by the patent. Think of Thomas Edison along with his most famous patented invention, the light bulb. Together with his patent for your bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent every other person or company from producing, using or selling light bulbs without his permission. Essentially, nobody could contend with him in the light bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, so that you can receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison needed to give something in return. He needed to fully “disclose” his invention towards the public.
To have a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, the way it operates, and the best way known from the inventor making it.It is this disclosure to the public which entitles the inventor to some 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 strive to develop new technologies and disclose them to the general public. Providing these with the monopoly allows them to profit financially through the invention. Without this “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to produce technologies, because without having a patent monopoly an inventor’s effort would bring him no financial reward.Fearing that the invention could be stolen whenever they make an effort to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul with regards to their invention, as well as the public would never benefit.
The grant of rights under a patent lasts for a limited period.Utility patents expire two decades when 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 light, we might probably must pay about $300 to purchase a light bulb today.Without competition, there would be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light bulb.Instead, after the Edison light bulb patent expired, everyone was free to manufacture bulbs, and many companies did.The vigorous competition to perform exactly that after expiration in the Edison patent ended in better quality, lower costing bulbs.
Types of patents. You will find essentially three varieties of patents which you should be aware of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent relates to inventions which may have a “functional” aspect (quite simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it genuinely “does” something).Quite simply, the one thing that is different or “special” concerning the invention has to be for a functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention must also fall within at least one in the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Remember that virtually 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: think of a “machine” as a thing that accomplishes a task due to the interaction of its physical parts, such as a can opener, a vehicle engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of those physical parts that our company is concerned and which are protected from the Inventhelp George Foreman Commercials.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be regarded as items that accomplish a job similar to a machine, but minus the interaction of numerous physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may are most often similar in many instances, you are able to distinguish the two by thinking of articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic things that typically have no moving parts. A paper clip, for instance is definitely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a task (holding papers together), but is clearly not really a “machine” since it is an easy device which will not rely on the interaction of various parts.
C) Process: a means of doing something through one or more steps, each step interacting somehow using a physical element, is actually a “process.” An activity can be a new method of manufacturing a known product or could even be a whole new use to get a known product. Board games are typically protected as being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions like pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds including soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so forth can 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, as opposed to its “utility” or function, which is protected by a utility patent. In other words, when the invention is actually a useful object that has a novel shape or overall look, a design patent might provide the appropriate protection. To prevent infringement, a copier would have to create a version that will not look “substantially similar to 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 acquiring a utility patent, in which the invention may not yet anticipate to get yourself a utility patent. In other words, if it seems as if the invention cannot yet get a utility patent, the provisional application might be filed inside the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority towards the invention.Because the inventor consistently develop the invention to make further developments that allow a utility patent to be obtained, then your inventor can “convert” the provisional application to your full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for the date if the provisional application was initially filed.
A provisional patent has several benefits:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far 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 a time-proven tremendous commercial value, like the “as seen on television” label which is applied to many products. A product or service bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses an industrial marketing advantage from the very beginning.
B) Capacity 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 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 cannot be changed in any way, a provisional application might have additional material added to it to improve it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips that were obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product can be implemented and protected at that time.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor having a crucial “filing date.” In other words, 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 that your invention is actually a potential candidate for a utility patent (because it fits within one of many statutory classes), you ought to then move ahead to analyze whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” Both of these requirements are essentially worried about whether your invention is new, and in case so, whether you will find a substantial distinction between it and similar products inside the related field.
A) Novelty: To obtain a utility patent, you have to initially decide if your invention is “novel”. Put simply, is your invention new?Are you currently the initial person to have looked at it? For instance, should you make application for a patent on the light, it seems quite clear that you simply would not eligible for a patent, because the light is not a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based upon the fact that Edison invented the lighting 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 from the invention or everything known to the public multiple year before you file a patent application for your invention).
For the invention to be 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 over a similar invention.If you decide to invent a square bulb, your invention would actually be novel compared to the Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). In the event the patent office would cite the round Edison light bulb against your square one as prior art to demonstrate that the invention had not been novel, they would be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention that is identical to yours in every single way your invention lacks novelty and is also not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly easy to overcome, since any slight variation in good shape, size, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even though the invention is novel, it could 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 actually more challenging to meet the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to get over in the quest for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only requirement to fulfill, then almost anything conceivable could be patented so long as it differed slightly from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied following the novelty question is met. This second requirement is referred to as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states in part that although an invention as well as the related prior art may not be “identical” (which means the invention is novel with respect to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable when the differences between it and also the related prior art would be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the area of the particular 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 in between your invention as well as the prior art.About this point there is no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is certainly a substantial amount of room for a number of opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: each person, including different Examiners in the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding if the invention is really obvious.
Some common samples of things that are certainly not usually considered significant, and therefore which can be usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to make something lighter in weight; changing the size or color; combining items of the type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for an additional similar component, etc.
IV. Precisely 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 can be used to stop you from obtaining a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those things that the PTO can cite against you so as to prove that your particular invention is not really in reality novel or to reveal that your invention is obvious. These eight sections can be split up into a structured and understandable format composed of two main categories: prior art which is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are currently not the very first inventor); and prior art which extends back before 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 would seem to seem sensible that in case 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 be the first inventor. Section 102(a) from the patent law specifically describes the points which can be used as prior art when 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 america, before your date of invention. Even if there is no patent or written documentation showing that your particular 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 known to the public before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the usa: Use by others from the invention you are attempting to patent in public places in the usa, just before your date of invention, may be held against your patent application by the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if somebody else was publicly utilizing the invention even before you conceived of this, you obviously should not be the original and first inventor of it, and you may not need to receive a patent for this.
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 will 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, 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 (such as books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published prior to your date of invention will stop you from acquiring a patent.Again, the reasoning here is that if your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you are not the very first inventor (since another person considered it before you decide to) and you also are certainly not eligible to patent into it.
B)Prior art which goes back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was defined as everything known just before your conception from the invention or everything proven to the public multiple year before your filing of any patent application. What this means is that in many circumstances, even though you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you may be unable to get a patent on it if this has entered the arena of public knowledge and more than twelve months has passed between that time along with your filing of a patent application. The objective of this rule would be to persuade folks to apply for patents on their own inventions as soon as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) in the patent law defines specifically those varieties of prior art which may be used against you as being a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in the United States: In the event the invention you intend to patent was sold or offered on the market in america more than one year before you file a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever getting a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your invention on January 1, 2008, and provide it on the market on January 3, 2008, in an effort to raise some funds to get a patent. You need to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (twelve months from the day you offered it available for sale).Should you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, as an example, the PTO will reject the application to be barred as it was offered for sale several year just before your filing date.This would be the case if somebody apart from yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still which you conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it available for sale publicly.You simply 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!If you do not file a patent on your invention by February 2, 2009, (twelve months from your date the other person began selling it) then you definitely also will be forever barred from getting a patent. Note that this provision from the law prevents from getting a patent, even though there is not any prior art going back to before your date of conception and you really are the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), for the reason that the invention was offered to the public for 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 odds of acquiring a patent even though you are the initial inventor and also have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: In the event the invention you intend to Inventhelp News was used in the United States on your part or any other several year before your filing of a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your invention. Typical types of public use are when you or another person display and use the invention in a trade event or public gathering, on tv, or anywhere else where the public has potential access.The public use will not need to be one that specifically promises to make the public mindful of the invention. Any use which may be potentially accessed from the public will suffice to start usually the one year clock running (but a secret use will most likely not invoke the one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in america or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or some other printed publication by you or by another person, available to people in america or abroad more than one year before your filing date, will keep you from getting a patent on your own invention.Note that even a post authored by you, regarding your own invention, will start the main one-year clock running.So, as an example, in the event you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it all out, this might start the one-year clock running.So too would the one-year clock start running to suit your needs when a complete stranger published a printed article about the main topic of your invention.
4) Patented in america or abroad: If a United States Of America or foreign patent covering your invention issued over a year prior to your filing date, you will be barred from acquiring a patent. Compare this using the previous section regarding U . S . and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) of the patent law, you might be prohibited from getting a patent if 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 a patent with an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over a year ago, even if your date of invention was before the filing date of the patent.