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 very limited time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any kind of monopolization in commerce, as a result of belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. An excellent example will be the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some in the past to the many regional phone companies. The federal government, specifically the Justice Department (the governmental agency which prosecutes monopoly or “antitrust” violations), believed that Bell Telephone was an unfair monopoly and forced it to relinquish its monopoly powers on the telephone industry.
Why, then, would the us government permit a monopoly in the form of Inventhelp Office? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors in the future forward using their creations. By doing this, the federal government actually promotes advancements in science and technology.
First of all, it needs to be clear to you personally just how a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the owner of the patent to stop someone else from producing the merchandise or making use of the process included in the patent. Consider Thomas Edison and his awesome most popular patented invention, the lighting bulb. With his patent for that light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent some other person or company from producing, using or selling bulbs without his permission. Essentially, nobody could contend with him within the light business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison had to give something in turn. He required to fully “disclose” his invention towards the public.
To obtain a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose what the invention is, how it operates, and the best way known from the inventor to make it.It is actually this disclosure to the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is that by promising inventors a monopoly in return for their disclosures to the public, inventors will continually attempt to develop technologies and disclose those to the public. Providing all of them with the monopoly allows them to profit financially through the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there could be few incentives to build up technologies, because without a patent monopoly an inventor’s effort will bring him no financial reward.Fearing their invention would be stolen whenever they make an effort to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul about their invention, and the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights within patent will last for a small period.Utility patents expire 20 years when they are filed.If this type of was untrue, 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 need to pay about $300 to get a light bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to enhance upon his light.Instead, when the Edison light patent expired, everybody was liberated to manufacture bulbs, and several companies did.The vigorous competition to do exactly that after expiration from the Edison patent ended in higher quality, lower costing lights.
Varieties of patents. You will find essentially three types of patents which you should know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent relates to inventions which may have a “functional” aspect (in other words, 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 also must fall within a minumum of one in the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Take into account that virtually any physical, functional invention will belong to one or more of those categories, so you need not be worried about which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: imagine a “machine” as a thing that accomplishes an activity because of the interaction of their physical parts, such as a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.This is the combination and interconnection of such physical parts in which we have been concerned and which are protected through the Inventhelp Headquarters.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be regarded as things which accomplish a job similar to a machine, but without the interaction of various physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may appear to be similar in many instances, you can distinguish the 2 by thinking about articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic things which typically have no moving parts. A paper clip, as an example is definitely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a job (holding papers together), but is clearly not really a “machine” since it is a simple device which does not rely on the interaction of numerous parts.
C) Process: a means of doing something through one or more steps, each step interacting in some manner using a physical element, is actually a “process.” An activity can be quite a new method of manufacturing a known product or can even be a new use for a known product. Board games are generally protected as a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions like pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds such as soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so on could be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes are frequently protected in this fashion.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of an object, as opposed to its “utility” or function, which can be protected by a utility patent. In other words, when the invention is actually a useful object which has a novel shape or overall look, a design patent might give you the appropriate protection. To avoid infringement, a copier would need to produce a version that will not look “substantially similar to the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the form and overall appearance without infringing the design and style patent.
A provisional patent application is actually a step toward obtaining a utility patent, where the invention might not exactly yet be ready to get a utility patent. Put simply, when it seems as though the invention cannot yet obtain a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed inside the Patent Office to establish the inventor’s priority towards the invention.Since the inventor consistently develop the invention making further developments which allow a utility patent to become obtained, then your inventor can “convert” the provisional application to some full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for your date once the provisional application was initially filed.
A provisional patent has several positive aspects:
A) Patent Pending Status: By far the most well known benefit of a Provisional Patent Application is it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the merchandise “patent pending.” This has a time-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen in the media” label that is put on many products. A product or service bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses a commercial marketing advantage from the very beginning.
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.In that year, the inventor need to commercialize the product and assess its potential. When 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 by any means, a provisional application could have additional material included in it to enhance 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 could be implemented and protected during those times.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor using a crucial “filing date.” In other words, the date that the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for obtaining a utility patent. Once you are certain that your invention is actually a potential candidate to get a utility patent (because it fits within among 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 worried about whether your invention is totally new, and when so, whether there exists a substantial difference between it and similar products in 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?Are you the very first person to possess considered it? For instance, if you decide to obtain a patent on the bulb, it appears quite clear that you simply would not really eligible to a patent, because the bulb is not a new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based on the reality that Edison invented the lighting bulb many years 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 of the invention or everything recognized to the general public multiple year before you decide to file a patent application for the invention).
To your invention to get novel with respect to other inventions in the world (prior art), it has to simply be different in a few minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel over a similar invention.If you were to invent a square bulb, your invention would really be novel when compared to the Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). If the patent office would cite the round Edison bulb against your square one as prior art to exhibit that your particular invention was not novel, they would be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention that is identical to yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and is also not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is extremely easy to overcome, since any slight variation in shape, size, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, although the invention is novel, it may fail one other requirement mentioned above: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, tend not to celebrate yet — it is harder to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As mentioned above, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to beat within the pursuit of a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only real requirement to fulfill, then almost anything conceivable may be patented as long as it differed slightly from all of previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a much more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied right after 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 and also the related prior art is probably not “identical” (which means 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 a person having ordinary skill in the field of the specific invention.
This is in fact the Patent and Trademark Office’s way 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 involving the invention and the prior art.About this point there is absolutely no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there exists a substantial amount of room for a number of opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: different people, including different Examiners in the Patent Office, will have different opinions regarding whether or not the invention is truly obvious.
Some common types of things which are not usually considered significant, and thus which are 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. Precisely what is considered prior art by 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 prevent you from obtaining a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those things that the PTO can cite against you in an attempt to prove that the invention is not in reality novel or reveal that your invention is obvious. These eight sections can be broken down into an arranged and understandable format consisting of two main categories: prior art that is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are currently not the first inventor); and prior art which goes back prior to your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited very long to submit to get a patent).
A) Prior art which goes back before your date of invention: It could appear to seem sensible that when prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you must not be entitled to have a patent on that invention as you would not truly become the first inventor. Section 102(a) in the patent law specifically describes the points which can be used prior art when they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in america: Any evidence that your invention was “known” by others, in the United States, just before your date of invention. Even if there is no patent or written documentation showing that your invention was known in america, the PTO might still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty when they can reveal that your invention was generally recognized to the public just before your date of invention.
2) Public use in america: Use by others of the invention you are attempting to patent in public places in america, just before your date of invention, may be held against your patent application through the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if a person else was publicly making use of the invention before you even conceived of it, you obviously cannot be the first and first inventor from it, and you may not should receive a patent because of it.
3) Patented in america or abroad: Any United States Of America or foreign patents which issued prior to your date of invention and which disclose your invention will likely be used against your patent application from the PTO. For instance, believe that you invent a lobster de-shelling tool on June 1, 2007.The PTO can 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 Of America or abroad: Any U . S . or foreignprinted publications (including books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published prior to your date of invention will keep you from obtaining a patent.Again, the reasoning here is when your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly are not the first inventor (since someone else thought of it before you) and you are not entitled to patent into it.
B)Prior art which extends back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was described as everything known just before your conception of the invention or everything proven to people more than one year before your filing of the patent application. This means that in lots of circumstances, even when you were the first one to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to obtain a patent on it if this has entered the world of public knowledge and over one year has gone by between that time as well as your filing of any patent application. The objective of this rule would be to encourage people to get patents on the 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 can be used against you being a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in the United States: If the invention you want to patent was sold or offered for sale in the usa more than one year prior to deciding to file a patent application, then you definitely are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your own invention on January 1, 2008, and present it on the market on January 3, 2008, in an effort to raise some funds to get a patent. You must file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (one year from the day you offered it available for sale).If you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, as an example, the PTO will reject your application as being barred as it was offered for sale several year before your filing date.This 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 did not sell or offer it on the market publicly.You just kept it to yourself.Also think that on February 1, 2008, another person conceived of your own invention and began selling it. This starts your one year clock running!Unless you file a patent on your own invention by February 2, 2009, (one year from your date another 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 from getting a patent, even though there is absolutely no prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you truly are the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was available to the public for over 1 year before your filing date because of the other person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you getting a patent even though you are the first inventor and possess satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: In the event the invention you wish to Invent Help Ideas was utilized in america on your part or another several year before your filing of a patent application, then you are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your own invention. Typical types of public use are when you or another person display and make use of the invention at a trade show or public gathering, on television, or elsewhere where the general public has potential access.The general public use will not need to be one that specifically promises to have the public aware of the invention. Any use which may be potentially accessed by the public will suffice to start the one year clock running (but a secret use will often 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 on your part or by another person, accessible to the public in america or abroad several year before your filing date, will prevent you from acquiring a patent on the invention.Note that even a post published by you, regarding your own invention, begins usually the one-year clock running.So, as an example, if you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it out, this could start usually the one-year clock running.So too would the main 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 the usa or abroad: If a United States or foreign patent covering your invention issued over a year before your filing date, you may be barred from obtaining 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 are prohibited from obtaining a patent in the event the filing date of another patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we have been discussing here, you are unable to get yourself a patent upon 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.