What is a patent? A United States Patent is essentially a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is a contract in which the U . S . 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 good example will be the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years ago in to the many regional phone companies. The federal government, in particular 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 within the telephone industry.
Why, then, would the federal government permit a monopoly by means of How To Prototype An Invention? The federal government makes an exception to encourage inventors ahead forward making use of their creations. In doing so, the government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.
To start with, it should be clear to you precisely how a patent behaves as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the owner from the patent to prevent anyone else from producing the merchandise or utilizing the process protected by the patent. Consider Thomas Edison and his awesome most famous patented invention, the sunshine bulb. With his patent for your bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent some other person or company from producing, using or selling lights without his permission. Essentially, nobody could contest with him in the light bulb business, and hence he possessed a monopoly.
However, so that you can receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in return. He needed to fully “disclose” his invention towards the public.
To have a U . S . Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, the way it operates, and the best way known by the inventor to make it.It is this disclosure to the public which entitles the inventor to a monopoly.The logic for carrying this out is the fact by promising inventors a monopoly in turn for their disclosures to the public, inventors will continually attempt to develop new technologies and disclose those to the general public. Providing them with the monopoly enables them to profit financially from the invention. Without it “tradeoff,” there could be few incentives to develop new technologies, because with no patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work would bring him no financial reward.Fearing that the invention could be stolen when they attempt to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul regarding their invention, and also the public would never benefit.
The grant of rights within a patent can last for a small period.Utility patents expire twenty years after they are filed.If the was incorrect, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there would be serious consequences. As an example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for that light bulb, we would probably have to pay about $300 to purchase a light bulb today.Without competition, there would be little incentive for Edison to enhance upon his light bulb.Instead, once the Edison light patent expired, everyone was able to manufacture light bulbs, and several companies did.The vigorous competition to perform that after expiration from the Edison patent resulted in better quality, lower costing bulbs.
Kinds of patents. There are essentially three kinds of patents which you should know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent relates to inventions that have a “functional” aspect (put simply, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it really “does” something).Put simply, the one thing that is different or “special” regarding the invention has to be for a functional purpose.To be eligible 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 just about any physical, functional invention will fall under a minumum of one of these categories, which means you will not need to be worried about which category best describes your invention.
A) Machine: imagine a “machine” as a thing that accomplishes a task due to the interaction of the physical parts, like a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.It is the combination and interconnection of such physical parts in which our company is concerned and which can be protected from the Invention Website.
B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be regarded as items that accomplish a task just like a machine, but minus 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 things which normally have no moving parts. A paper clip, as an example is surely an article of manufacture.It accomplishes an activity (holding papers together), but is clearly not really a “machine” because it is an easy device which will not rely on the interaction of numerous parts.
C) Process: an easy method of accomplishing something through several steps, each step interacting somehow with a physical element, is regarded as a “process.” A procedure could be a new method of manufacturing a known product or can even be a brand new use for any known product. Board games are typically protected as a process.
D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions such as 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 way.
A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of an object, rather than its “utility” or function, which is protected by a utility patent. In other words, when the invention is really a useful object that includes a novel shape or overall look, a design patent might give you the appropriate protection. To avoid infringement, a copier will have to produce a version that fails to look “substantially like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the design and overall appearance without infringing the design patent.
A provisional patent application is a step toward getting a utility patent, in which the invention may not yet be ready to get yourself a utility patent. Put simply, if it seems as though the invention cannot yet obtain a utility patent, the provisional application might be filed within the Patent Office to build the inventor’s priority for the invention.Because the inventor consistently develop the invention to make further developments that allow a utility patent to be obtained, then the inventor can “convert” the provisional application to some full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for the date when the provisional application was initially filed.
A provisional patent has several positive aspects:
A) Patent Pending Status: The most popular advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is it allows the inventor to instantly begin marking the merchandise “patent pending.” It has a period-proven tremendous commercial value, similar to the “as seen on TV” label that is put on many products. A product or service bearing these two phrases clearly possesses a commercial marketing advantage from the very beginning.
B) Ability to enhance the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has 1 year to “convert” the provisional in to a “full blown” utility application.During that year, the inventor need to try to commercialize the item and assess its potential. In the event the product appears commercially viable in that year, then this inventor is motivated to convert the provisional application in to a utility application.However, unlike a typical utility application which can not be changed by any means, a provisional application may have additional material put into it to improve it upon its conversion within twelve months.Accordingly, any helpful information or tips that had been obtained from the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization from the product can be implemented and guarded during that time.
C) Establishment of any filing date: The provisional patent application also provides the inventor having a crucial “filing date.” Put simply, 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. When you are certain that your invention is a potential candidate for 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.” Both of these requirements are essentially focused on whether your invention is completely new, and when so, whether there is a substantial distinction between it and other products in the related field.
A) Novelty: To have a utility patent, you must initially see whether your invention is “novel”. In other words, is the invention new?Have you been the very first person to get looked at it? As an example, if you were to obtain a patent on the light bulb, it seems like quite clear that you simply would not be entitled to a patent, since the light bulb is not a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your application, would reject it based upon 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 bulb patent against you as relevant “prior art” (prior art is everything “known” just before your conception in the invention or everything recognized to people several year before you decide to file a patent application for that invention).
For the invention to be novel regarding other inventions in the world (prior art), it should just be different in some 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 bulb, your invention would really be novel compared to the Edison bulb (since his was round/elliptical). In the event the patent office were to cite the round Edison light against your square one as prior art to demonstrate that your particular invention had not been novel, they could be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention which can be just like yours in every single way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.
Typically, the novelty requirement is incredibly very easy to overcome, since any slight variation in good shape, size, combination of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even though the invention is novel, it may fail the other requirement stated earlier: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, do not celebrate yet — it is more challenging to fulfill the non-obviousness requirement.
B) Non-obviousness: As mentioned above, the novelty requirement is the easy obstacle to overcome within the search for a patent. Indeed, if novelty were the only real requirement to satisfy, then just about everything conceivable may be patented provided that it differed slightly coming from all previously developed conceptions. Accordingly, a far more difficult, complex requirement has to be satisfied following the novelty real 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 respect to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable in the event the differences between it and the related prior art could be considered “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the field of the specific invention.
This really is in actuality 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 otherwise — it is more often than not quite evident whether any differences exist involving the invention and the prior art.With 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, because the requirement is inherently subjective: different people, including different Examiners in the Patent Office, could have different opinions regarding whether or not the invention is definitely obvious.
Some common examples of things which usually are not usually considered significant, and thus which can be usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to create something lighter in weight; changing the dimensions or color; combining pieces of the type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for another similar component, etc.
IV. What exactly is considered prior art through the Patent Office?
The patent laws, specifically 35 U.S.C. section 102, outline eight major kinds of prior art which could be used to keep you from acquiring a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those ideas that the PTO can cite against you so as to prove that your particular invention is not in reality novel or to reveal that your invention is obvious. These eight sections could be divided into an arranged and understandable format composed of two main categories: prior art which is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are not the first inventor); and prior art which dates back just before your “filing date” (thus showing which you may have waited too much time to submit for any patent).
A) Prior art which extends back before your date of invention: It could seem to seem sensible that if prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you should not be entitled to obtain a patent on that invention as you would not truly be the first inventor. Section 102(a) of the patent law specifically describes the things which can be used as prior art should 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 you have no patent or written documentation showing that your invention was known in the usa, the PTO may still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty if they can show that your invention was generally known 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 places in america, prior to your date of invention, can be held against your patent application from the PTO. This ought to make clear sense, since if someone else was publicly making use of the invention even before you conceived of this, you obviously can not be the original and first inventor of it, and you do not need to get a patent for it.
3) Patented in the United States or abroad: Any U . S . or foreign patents which issued before your date of invention and which disclose your invention will be used against your patent application by the PTO. As an example, assume 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 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 (including 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 definitely are certainly not the very first inventor (since somebody else looked at it before you) and you also usually are not entitled to patent onto 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 from the invention or everything recognized to the general public several 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 may be unable to get a patent on it if this has entered the world of public knowledge and more than twelve months has gone by between that time along with your filing of a patent application. The objective of this rule would be to encourage people to apply for patents on their inventions at the earliest opportunity or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) in the patent law defines specifically those varieties of prior art which is often used against you as a “one-year bar” the following:
1) Commercial activity in the United States: When the invention you intend to patent was sold or offered on the market in the United States multiple year before you 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 on the market on January 3, 2008, so as 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 from your day you offered it available for sale).Should you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for example, the PTO will reject the application as being barred since it was offered on the market multiple year prior to your filing date.This is the case if someone other than yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it for sale publicly.You merely kept it to yourself.Also think that on February 1, 2008, someone else conceived of your invention and began selling it. This starts your one year clock running!If you do not file a patent on your invention by February 2, 2009, (1 year from the date one other person began selling it) then you definitely also will likely be forever barred from getting a patent. Note that this provision of the law prevents you from acquiring a patent, even though there is not any prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you also really are the initial inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), mainly because the invention was accessible to people for more than twelve months before your filing date because of 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 first inventor and possess satisfied section 102(a).
2) Public use in the United States: If the invention you wish to Invention Help Companies was utilized in america on your part or some other more than one year before your filing of the patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever getting a patent on your own invention. Typical samples of public use are once you or somebody else display and utilize the invention in a trade show or public gathering, on tv, or somewhere else where most people has potential access.The general public use do not need to be the one that specifically intends to have the public conscious of the invention. Any use which is often potentially accessed through the public will suffice to start usually the one year clock running (but a secret use will usually not invoke usually the one-year rule).
3) Printed publication in the usa or abroad: Any newspaper article, magazine article, trade paper, academic thesis or some other printed publication by you or by another individual, offered to the general public in america or abroad multiple year before your filing date, will prevent you from obtaining a patent on your own invention.Be aware that even a post published by you, about your own invention, begins usually the one-year clock running.So, for instance, in the event you detailed your invention in a natmlt release and mailed it, this might start the one-year clock running.So too would the main one-year clock start running for you personally in case a complete stranger published a printed article about the topic of your invention.
4) Patented in the United States or abroad: If a United States or foreign patent covering your invention issued spanning a year just before your filing date, you will be barred from obtaining a patent. Compare this with all the previous section regarding United States Of America and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) in the patent law, you might be prohibited from getting a patent when the filing date of another patent is earlier than your date of invention. Under 102(b) which our company is discussing here, you cannot get yourself a patent on an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over last year, even if your date of invention was ahead of the filing date of that patent.