What is a patent? A U . S . 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 specific concept for a very limited time.
Typically, our government frowns upon any sort of monopolization in commerce, as a result of belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. A great example will be the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years back into the many regional phone companies. The federal government, specifically 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 us government permit a monopoly by means of Patent Your Idea? The government makes an exception to encourage inventors in the future forward making use of their creations. In doing so, the federal government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To begin with, it needs to be clear to you exactly how a patent works as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the property owner from the patent to stop other people from producing the item or making use of the process covered by the patent. Think of Thomas Edison and his awesome most famous patented invention, the lighting bulb. Together with his patent for your light, Thomas Edison could prevent some other person or company from producing, using or selling bulbs without his permission. Essentially, nobody could contest with him within the light business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.
However, in order to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in return. He required to fully “disclose” his invention towards the public.
To have a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose exactly what the invention is, the way it operates, and the most effective way known from the inventor making it.It is this disclosure for the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is that by promising inventors a monopoly in exchange for his or her disclosures towards the public, inventors will continually attempt to develop technologies and disclose those to people. Providing these with the monopoly allows them to profit financially from the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to produce technologies, because without having a patent monopoly an inventor’s effort will bring him no financial reward.Fearing that the invention would be stolen whenever they attempt to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul regarding their invention, and the public would never benefit.
The grant of rights under a patent can last for a small period.Utility patents expire 20 years after they are filed.If the was not the case, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there will be serious consequences. For example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for your bulb, we may probably have to pay about $300 to buy an easy bulb today.Without competition, there could be little incentive for Edison to improve upon his light bulb.Instead, once the Edison light bulb patent expired, everybody was able to manufacture lights, and lots of companies did.The vigorous competition to perform that after expiration from the Edison patent ended in better quality, lower costing bulbs.
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 pertains to inventions that have a “functional” aspect (quite simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it genuinely “does” something).Put simply, the one thing which is different or “special” concerning the invention should be to get a functional purpose.To qualify for utility patent protection, an invention must also fall within a minumum of one in 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 those categories, so you need not 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 their physical parts, such as a can opener, a car engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of these physical parts that we are concerned and that are protected by the Inventhelp Invention Ideas.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” should be thought of as things that accomplish an activity like a machine, but without the interaction of various physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may are most often similar in many cases, it is possible to distinguish the 2 by thinking of articles of manufacture as more simplistic things which normally have no moving parts. A paper clip, for example is an article of manufacture.It accomplishes a job (holding papers together), but is clearly not a “machine” since it is a basic device which will not rely on the interaction of numerous parts.
C) Process: an easy method of accomplishing something through one or more steps, each step interacting in some way using a physical element, is regarded as a “process.” A procedure can be a new approach to manufacturing a known product or can also be a brand new use for any known product. Board games are usually protected being a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions like 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 manner.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of your object, rather than its “utility” or function, which can be protected by way of a utility patent. Quite simply, when the invention is actually a useful object which has a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might supply the appropriate protection. To avoid infringement, a copier would have to generate a version that does not look “substantially similar to the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the form and overall look without infringing the design and style patent.
A provisional patent application is actually a step toward getting a utility patent, in which the invention might not yet be ready to obtain a utility patent. Put simply, if this seems as if the invention cannot yet get a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed inside the Patent Office to establish the inventor’s priority to the invention.Since the inventor consistently develop the invention to make further developments which allow a utility patent to become obtained, then this inventor can “convert” the provisional application to your full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for your date when the provisional application was filed.
A provisional patent has several advantages:
A) Patent Pending Status: The most well-known advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is it allows the inventor to instantly begin marking the item “patent pending.” This has a period-proven tremendous commercial value, just like the “as seen on television” label that is put on many products. An item bearing both of these phrases clearly possesses a professional marketing advantage right from the start.
B) Capability to improve the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has 1 year to “convert” the provisional right into a “full blown” utility application.In that year, the inventor should try to commercialize the item and assess its potential. If the product appears commercially viable in that year, then the inventor is encouraged to convert the provisional application into a utility application.However, unlike an ordinary utility application which can not be changed in any respect, a provisional application might have additional material added to it to enhance it upon its conversion within one year.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips that had been obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product could be implemented and protected during that time.
C) Establishment of the filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor using a crucial “filing date.” In other words, the date that this provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for the later filed/converted utility patent.
Requirements for obtaining a utility patent. Once you are certain your invention is a potential candidate for any utility patent (because it fits within among the statutory classes), you ought to then move ahead to evaluate whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” Both of these requirements are essentially concerned with whether your invention is completely new, and when so, whether you will find a substantial difference between it and other products within the related field.
A) Novelty: To acquire a utility patent, you need to initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. In other words, is the invention new?Have you been the first person to get thought of it? For instance, if you decide to apply for a patent on the bulb, it seems like quite clear which you would not eligible to a patent, considering that the light is not a new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving the application, would reject it dependant on the reality that Edison invented the sunshine 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” just before your conception of the invention or everything proven to the public several year before you file a patent application for the invention).
To your invention to get novel with respect to other inventions on earth (prior art), it must simply be different in certain minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel more than a similar invention.If you decide to invent a square light, your invention would really be novel compared to the Edison light bulb (since his was round/elliptical). When the patent office would cite the round Edison light bulb against your square one as prior art to exhibit that your invention had not been novel, they would be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which can be just like yours in every way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly simple to overcome, since any slight variation in good shape, size, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, however the invention is novel, it could fail the other requirement mentioned previously: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, do not celebrate yet — it is harder to satisfy the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement is definitely the easy obstacle to overcome within the pursuit of a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only requirement in order to satisfy, then just about anything conceivable could be patented provided that it differed slightly from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a more difficult, complex requirement has to be satisfied following the novelty question for you is met. This second requirement is known as “non-obviousness.”
The non-obviousness requirement states to some extent that although an invention and the related prior art might not be “identical” (which means that the invention is novel with regards 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 someone having ordinary skill in the specific invention.
This is in actuality 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 not — it is more often than not quite evident whether any differences exist in between your invention as well as the prior art.With this point there is no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is certainly a large amount of room for various opinions, since the requirement is inherently subjective: different people, including different Examiners on the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding whether the invention is really obvious.
Some common examples of things which usually are not usually considered significant, and so which can be usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to create something lighter in weight; changing the size and style or color; combining items of what type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for another 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 could be used to keep you from obtaining a patent. In other words, it defines exactly those things which the PTO can cite against you in an effort to prove that your invention is not really actually novel or even to demonstrate that your invention is obvious. These eight sections could be broken down into an arranged and understandable format comprising 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 dates back just before your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited too long to submit for a patent).
A) Prior art which dates back just before your date of invention: It could seem to seem sensible that if 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 function as 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 america: Any evidence that your particular invention was “known” by others, in the United States, 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 show that your invention was generally proven to the public prior to 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 america, before your date of invention, could be held against your patent application through the PTO. This will make clear sense, since if a person else was publicly utilizing the invention before you even conceived of it, you obviously should not be the first and first inventor of this, and you may not should receive a patent for this.
3) Patented in america or abroad: Any U . S . or foreign patents which issued just before your date of invention and which disclose your invention is going to be used against your patent application through the PTO. For example, think 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 U . S . or foreignprinted publications (like 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 when your conception was described publicly in a printed publication, then you certainly are certainly not the very first inventor (since somebody else thought of it prior to deciding to) and also you are certainly not eligible for patent onto it.
B)Prior art which goes back prior to your filing date: As noted above, prior art was considered everything known prior to your conception from the invention or everything known to the public multiple year before your filing of any patent application. What this means is that in lots of circumstances, even if you were the first to have conceived/invented something, you will end up unable to get a patent into it if it has entered the realm of public knowledge and more than one year has gone by between that point along with your filing of a patent application. The goal of this rule is to persuade folks to try 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 types of prior art which may be used against you being a “one-year bar” as follows:
1) Commercial activity in the usa: When the invention you want to patent was sold or offered on the market in the United States multiple year before you decide to file a patent application, then you are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on your invention.
EXAMPLE: you conceive of your invention on January 1, 2008, and offer it for sale on January 3, 2008, in an attempt to raise some funds to try to get a patent. You need to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (twelve months through the day you offered it for sale).Should you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for instance, the PTO will reject your application for being barred since it was offered on the market more than one year prior to your filing date.This also is the case if somebody apart from yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you simply conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but did not sell or offer it for sale publicly.You merely kept it to yourself.Also believe that on February 1, 2008, someone else conceived of your invention and began selling it. This starts your 1 year clock running!If you do not file a patent on your own invention by February 2, 2009, (twelve months from the date one other person began selling it) then you certainly also will likely be forever barred from obtaining a patent. Be aware that this provision from the law prevents you from obtaining a patent, even though there is absolutely no prior art going back to before your date of conception and you also truly are the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was accessible to the general public for over one 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 getting a patent even if you are the initial inventor and also have satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in america: In the event the invention you intend to How To Sell My Invention Idea To A Company was used in the United States on your part or another multiple year before your filing of the patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever getting a patent on the invention. Typical types of public use are once you or someone else display and utilize the invention at a trade exhibition or public gathering, on tv, or somewhere else where the general public has potential access.The public use need not be the one that specifically promises to have the public aware of the invention. Any use which may be potentially accessed through the public will suffice to start usually the one year clock running (but a secret use will usually not invoke the main one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in america or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or any other printed publication on your part or by another person, available to the general public in the usa or abroad several year before your filing date, will prevent you from getting a patent on your invention.Be aware that even a write-up authored by you, about your own invention, will begin 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 usually the one-year clock start running for you in case 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 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 happen to be prohibited from obtaining a patent in the event the filing date of some other patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which our company is discussing here, you can not get yourself a patent with an invention which had been disclosed in another patent issued over last year, even if your date of invention was before the filing date of the patent.