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 in which the United States Of America government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a certain concept for a very 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 back 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 federal government permit a monopoly by means of Inventhelp Caveman? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors to come forward making use of their creations. By doing this, the federal government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To begin with, it should be clear for you precisely how a patent acts as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the homeowner from the patent to stop anyone else from producing the item or utilizing the process included in the patent. Think about Thomas Edison and his most well-known patented invention, the sunshine bulb. With his patent for the light, Thomas Edison could prevent any other person or company from producing, using or selling bulbs without his permission. Essentially, nobody could contest with him inside the light bulb business, and therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in turn. He required to fully “disclose” his invention towards the public.
To acquire 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 to really make it.It is actually this disclosure towards the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for accomplishing this is the fact that by promising inventors a monopoly in exchange for his or her disclosures to the public, inventors will continually make an effort to develop technologies and disclose them to the public. Providing these with the monopoly enables them to profit financially through the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to produce new technologies, because with no patent monopoly an inventor’s work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing that their invention would be stolen once they make an effort to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul about their invention, as well as the public would not benefit.
The grant of rights within patent lasts for a restricted period.Utility patents expire two decades after they are filed.If this type of was incorrect, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there could be serious consequences. For instance, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for the light bulb, we would probably need to pay about $300 to buy an easy bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light.Instead, when the Edison light patent expired, everyone was liberated to manufacture bulbs, and many companies did.The vigorous competition to accomplish that after expiration from the Edison patent led to higher 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 applies to inventions that have a “functional” aspect (put simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it actually “does” something).In other words, the thing which is different or “special” concerning the invention must be for any 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. Keep in mind that virtually any physical, functional invention will fall under at least one of these categories, so you do not need to be worried about which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: consider a “machine” as something which accomplishes an activity as a result of interaction of their physical parts, for instance a can opener, a vehicle engine, a fax machine, etc.This is the combination and interconnection of such physical parts that we are concerned and that are protected from the Inventhelp Innovation.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be looked at as items that accomplish a job just like a machine, but without the interaction of numerous physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may seem to be similar in many instances, you can distinguish the 2 by thinking about articles of manufacture as increasing numbers of simplistic items that routinely have no moving parts. A paper clip, as an example is an article of manufacture.It accomplishes an activity (holding papers together), but is clearly not really a “machine” because it is a simple device which does not rely on the interaction of varied parts.
C) Process: an easy method of accomplishing something through a number of steps, each step interacting in some manner with a physical element, is regarded as a “process.” A process can be quite a new approach to manufacturing a known product or can also be a brand new use to get a known product. Board games are typically protected being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions such as pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds like soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and so forth could be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes are frequently protected in this way.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of an object, instead of its “utility” or function, which is protected by way of a utility patent. Put simply, when the invention is a useful object that has a novel shape or overall look, a design patent might supply the appropriate protection. In order to avoid infringement, a copier would need to produce a version that does not look “substantially similar to the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the shape and overall look without infringing the design patent.
A provisional patent application is actually a step toward acquiring a utility patent, where the invention may not yet be ready to obtain a utility patent. Put simply, if this seems like the invention cannot yet get a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed within the Patent Office to establish the inventor’s priority to the invention.As the inventor continues to develop the invention and make further developments that allow a utility patent to get obtained, then your inventor can “convert” the provisional application to your full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for your date if the provisional application was filed.
A provisional patent has several positive aspects:
A) Patent Pending Status: The most well known benefit of a Provisional Patent Application is that it allows the inventor to instantly begin marking the product “patent pending.” This has a period-proven tremendous commercial value, like the “as seen on television” label which can be put on many products. An item bearing these two phrases clearly possesses a professional marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Capacity to improve 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 commercialize the product and assess its potential. If the product appears commercially viable in that year, then this inventor is encouraged 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 twelve months.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips that had been obtained through the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization in the product could be implemented and protected during that time.
C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor with a crucial “filing date.” Put simply, the date that 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 sure that your invention is a potential candidate to get a utility patent (since 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.” These two requirements are essentially concerned with whether your invention is totally new, and in case so, whether you will find a substantial difference between it and other products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To obtain a utility patent, you must initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. In other words, is your invention new?Are you currently the very first person to possess looked at it? For instance, if you were to obtain a patent on the light, it seems quite clear which you would not really entitled to a patent, because the bulb will not be a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it based on the truth that Edison invented the sunshine 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” before your conception from the invention or everything known to people several year before you decide to file a patent application for that invention).
For the invention to become novel with regards to other inventions in the world (prior art), it has to simply be different in certain 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 compared to the Edison light (since his was round/elliptical). If the patent office would cite the round Edison bulb against your square one as prior art to demonstrate that your invention was not novel, they would be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention that is just like yours in each and every way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly very easy to overcome, since any slight variation in shape, size, mixture of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, although the invention is novel, it may fail another requirement mentioned above: “non-obviousness.” So, if you find that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, tend not to celebrate yet — it is more challenging to meet the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As stated before, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to get over inside the pursuit of a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the sole requirement in order to satisfy, then just about anything conceivable might be patented so long as it differed slightly from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement has to 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 and the related prior art might not be “identical” (which means the invention is novel with respect to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable in the event the differences between it as well as the related prior art could be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the area of the particular invention.
This can be in fact the Patent and Trademark Office’s means of subjectively judging the “quality” of your invention. Clearly the PTO has no latitude in judging whether your invention is novel or not — it is typically quite evident whether any differences exist 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 quite a bit of room for many different opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: differing people, including different Examiners at the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding if the invention is truly obvious.
Some common samples of items that usually are not usually considered significant, and so which are usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to make something lighter in weight; changing the size or color; combining items of what type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for another 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 types of prior art which may be used to prevent you from acquiring a patent. Quite simply, it defines exactly those ideas which the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that the invention will not be in fact novel or show that your invention is obvious. These eight sections could be divided into an arranged and understandable format composed of two main categories: prior art that is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you will be not the initial inventor); and prior art which goes back just before your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited very long to file for a patent).
A) Prior art which extends back before your date of invention: It would manage to seem sensible that if prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you should not be entitled to have a patent on that invention as you would not truly function as the first inventor. Section 102(a) from the patent law specifically describes the things which can be used prior art if they occur before your date of invention:
1) Public knowledge in america: 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 the invention was known in america, the PTO can still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can show that your invention was generally proven to people just before your date of invention.
2) Public use in the usa: Use by others from the invention you are trying to patent in public areas in the United States, before your date of invention, can be held against your patent application by the PTO. This will make clear sense, since if a person else was publicly making use of the invention even before you conceived from it, you obviously should not be the first and first inventor of this, and you do not need to get a patent because of it.
3) Patented in the usa or abroad: Any United States Of America or foreign patents which issued prior to your date of invention and which disclose your invention is going to 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 may use any patents which disclose the same lobster de-shelling tool, United States or foreign, which issued before June 1, 2007 (your date of invention) against your patent application.
4) Published publicly in U . S . or abroad: Any U . S . or foreignprinted publications (including books, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.) which disclose your invention and were published before your date of invention will prevent you from obtaining a patent.Again, the reasoning here is when your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you definitely usually are not the very first inventor (since another person thought of it before you) and you are certainly not entitled to patent into it.
B)Prior art which extends back prior to your filing date: As noted above, prior art was defined as everything known just before your conception in the invention or everything known to the public several year before your filing of any patent application. Therefore that in numerous circumstances, even though you were the first one to have conceived/invented something, you will be unable to obtain a patent on it if it has entered the world of public knowledge and more than one year has gone by between that time along with your filing of a patent application. The objective of this rule is always to encourage people to get patents on the inventions as quickly 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 a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in america: If 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 are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on the invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of the invention on January 1, 2008, and offer it for sale on January 3, 2008, in an effort to raise some funds to try to get a patent. You must file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (one year from the day you offered it for sale).In the event you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, as an example, the PTO will reject your application for being barred because it was offered on the market several year prior to your filing date.This too 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 simply kept it to yourself.Also believe that on February 1, 2008, somebody else conceived of your invention and began selling it. This starts your 1 year clock running!Unless you file a patent on your invention by February 2, 2009, (one year through the date the 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 obtaining a patent, even though there is not any prior art going back to before your date of conception and you also truly are the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), for the reason that the invention was available to people for over 1 year before your filing date as a result of another person’s sale.Accordingly, “section 102(b) one-year bars” can ruin the chances of you obtaining a patent even if you are the initial inventor and possess satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in america: When the invention you intend to Inventhelp Inventions Store was applied 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 the invention. Typical examples of public use are once you or somebody else display and utilize the invention in a trade show or public gathering, on tv, or elsewhere where the public has potential access.The public use do not need to be one that specifically promises to have the public aware of the invention. Any use which can be potentially accessed through the public will suffice to begin the one year clock running (but a secret use will often not invoke the main one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in the usa or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or other printed publication on your part or by another individual, offered to the public in the United States or abroad several year before your filing date, will keep you from acquiring a patent on your own invention.Be aware that even a post published by you, regarding your own invention, will begin usually the one-year clock running.So, as an example, if you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it out, this would start usually the one-year clock running.So too would usually the one-year clock start running to suit your needs if 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 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 are prohibited from acquiring a patent when the filing date of another patent is sooner than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which we are discussing here, you cannot obtain a patent with an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over a year ago, even when your date of invention was before the filing date of that patent.