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What is a patent? A U . S . Patent is actually a “grant of rights” for a limited period. In layman’s terms, it is acontract where the United States government expressly permits an individual or company to monopolize a particular concept for a very limited time. Typically, our government frowns upon any sort 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 in the past into 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 over the telephone industry.

Why, then, would the us government permit a monopoly in the form of a patent? The us government makes an exception to encourage inventors in the future forward with their creations. In doing so, the us government actually promotes advancements in technology and science.

First of all, it should be clear to you just how a patent works as a “monopoly. “A patent permits the owner of the How To Get An Idea Made Into A Prototype With Inventhelp to stop other people from producing the item or utilizing the process protected by the patent. Think about Thomas Edison and his awesome most well-known patented invention, the light bulb. Together with his patent for your light bulb, Thomas Edison could prevent any other person or company from producing, using or selling light bulbs without his permission. Essentially, no one could contest with him inside the light bulb business, so therefore he possessed a monopoly.

However, in order to receive his monopoly, Thomas Edison were required to give something in turn. He necessary to fully “disclose” his invention to the public. To obtain a United States Patent, an inventor must fully disclose just what the invention is, the actual way it operates, and the most effective way known through 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 turn for their disclosures towards the public, inventors will continually make an effort to develop technologies and disclose them to people. Providing them with the monopoly allows them to profit financially from the invention. Without this “tradeoff,” there will be few incentives to develop new technologies, because without having a patent monopoly an inventor’s hard work will bring him no financial reward.Fearing that the invention would be stolen whenever they make an effort to commercialize it, the inventor might never tell a soul regarding their invention, and also the public would not benefit.

The grant of rights within patent will last for a small period.Utility patents expire two decades when they are filed.If this was not the case, and patent monopolies lasted indefinitely, there could be serious consequences. For example, if Thomas Edison still held an in-force patent for your light bulb, we might probably have to pay about $300 to purchase a light bulb today.Without competition, there will be little incentive for Edison to enhance upon his light bulb.Instead, when the Edison light bulb patent expired, everybody was liberated to manufacture light bulbs, and lots of companies did.The vigorous competition to do just that after expiration in the Innovation resulted in higher quality, lower costing light bulbs.

II. Kinds of patents

You can find essentially three varieties of patents which you should know of — utility patents, design patents, and provisional patent applications. A utility patent relates to inventions which have a “functional” aspect (in other words, the invention accomplishes a utilitarian result — it really “does” something).In other words, one thing that is different or “special” regarding the invention should be to get a functional purpose.To be eligible for utility patent protection, an invention should also fall within one or more in the following “statutory categories” as required under 35 USC 101. Stay in mind that just about any physical, functional invention will fall into at least one of these categories, so that you do not need to be worried about which category best describes your invention.

A) Machine: think of a “machine” as something which accomplishes a job because of the interaction of its physical parts, for instance a can opener, an automobile engine, a fax machine, etc.It will be the combination and interconnection of such physical parts in which we are concerned and that are protected by the patent.

B) Article of manufacture: “articles of manufacture” ought to be thought of as things which accomplish a task just like a piece of equipment, but minus the interaction of varied physical parts.While articles of manufacture and machines may seem to be similar in many cases, you can distinguish the 2 by thinking of 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” as it is a simple device which does not rely on the interaction of various parts.

C) Process: a way of performing something through one or more steps, each step interacting somehow having a physical element, is known as a “process.” A process can be a new method of manufacturing a known product or can even become a new use for a known product. Board games are usually protected as being a process.

D) Composition of matter: typically chemical compositions including pharmaceuticals, mixtures, or compounds such as soap, concrete, paint, plastic, and also the like can be patented as “compositions of matter.” Food items and recipes are often protected in this manner.

A design patent protects the “ornamental appearance” of an object, rather than its “utility” or function, which can be protected with a utility patent. In other words, when the invention is actually a useful object that has a novel shape or overall appearance, a design patent might give you the appropriate protection. To avoid infringement, a copier would have to produce a version that will not look “substantially just like the ordinary observer.”They cannot copy the design and overall look without infringing the style patent.

A provisional patent application is really a step toward acquiring a utility patent, in which the invention might not be ready to get yourself a utility patent. Put simply, if it seems as if the invention cannot yet obtain a utility patent, the provisional application may be filed in the Patent Office to determine the inventor’s priority towards the invention.As the inventor will continue to develop the invention making further developments which permit a utility patent to get obtained, then this inventor can “convert” the provisional application to some full utility application. This later application is “given credit” for that date when the provisional application was first filed.

A provisional patent has several benefits:

A) Patent Pending Status: The most well-known advantage of a Provisional Patent Application is it allows the inventor to immediately begin marking the merchandise “patent pending.” This has a period-proven tremendous commercial value, similar to the “as seen on TV” label which is put on many products. An item bearing both these phrases clearly possesses an industrial marketing advantage right from the beginning.

B) Ability to increase the invention: After filing the provisional application, the inventor has 1 year to “convert” the provisional right into a “full blown” utility application.During that year, the inventor need to commercialize the product and assess its potential. In the event the product appears commercially viable during that year, then this inventor is asked to convert the provisional application in to a utility application.However, unlike a typical utility application which can not be changed in any way, a provisional application may have additional material added to it to boost it upon its conversion within 1 year.Accordingly, any helpful tips or tips that had been obtained by the inventor or his marketing/advertising agents during commercialization of the product can be implemented and guarded during those times.

C) Establishment of a filing date: The provisional patent application offers the inventor with a crucial “filing date.” Quite simply, the date the provisional is filed becomes the invention’s filing date, even for that later filed/converted utility patent.

III. Requirements for obtaining a utility patent. When you are certain your invention is actually a potential candidate for a utility patent (since it fits within one of many statutory classes), you should then move ahead to analyze whether your invention can satisfy two key requirements — “novelty” and “unobviousness.” These two requirements are essentially concerned with whether your invention is completely new, and if so, whether there is a substantial difference between it and similar products in the related field.

A) Novelty: To acquire a utility patent, you have to initially determine whether your invention is “novel”. In other words, can be your invention new?Are you the initial person to have considered it? For instance, if you decide to apply for a patent on the light bulb, it seems like quite clear that you would not eligible for a patent, since the light bulb will not be a brand new invention. The Patent Office, after receiving your application, would reject it based upon the reality that Edison invented the light 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 in 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 regarding other inventions in the world (prior art), it must simply be different in some minimal way. Any trivial physical difference will suffice to render your invention novel spanning a similar invention.If you were to invent a square light bulb, your invention would actually be novel when 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 show that your invention was not novel, they could be incorrect. However, if there exists an invention that is just like yours in every single way your invention lacks novelty and is not patentable.

Typically, the novelty requirement is extremely simple to overcome, since any slight variation in shape, size, blend of elements, etc. will satisfy it. However, even although the invention is novel, it might fail another requirement stated earlier: “non-obviousness.” So, in the event that your invention overcomes the novelty requirement, tend not to celebrate yet — it is actually more difficult to meet the non-obviousness requirement.

B) Non-obviousness: As pointed out above, the novelty requirement will be the easy obstacle to beat inside the pursuit of Patent Filing Services. 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 far more difficult, complex requirement should be satisfied after the novelty real question is met. This second requirement is called “non-obviousness.”

The non-obviousness requirement states partly that although an invention as well as the related prior art might not be “identical” (which means the invention is novel with regards to the prior art), the invention may nevertheless be unpatentable if the differences between it and also the related prior art would be considered “obvious” to someone having ordinary skill in the area of the actual invention.

This really is in actuality 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 actually almost always quite evident whether any differences exist between your invention and also the prior art.With this point there is absolutely no room for subjective opinion. Regarding non-obviousness, however, there is quite a bit of room for a number of opinions, considering that the requirement is inherently subjective: each person, including different Examiners in the Patent Office, may have different opinions regarding if the invention is definitely obvious.

Some common types of things that usually are not usually considered significant, and therefore that are usually considered “obvious” include: the mere substitution of materials to make something much lighter; changing the size or color; combining items of what type commonly found together; substituting one well-known component for the next 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 can be used to prevent you from getting a patent. Put simply, it defines exactly those things that the PTO can cite against you so as to prove that your invention is not in fact novel or to show that your invention is obvious. These eight sections can be broken down into an organized and understandable format composed of two main categories: prior art that is dated before your date of “invention” (thus showing that you are not the very first inventor); and prior art which dates back prior to your “filing date” (thus showing that you simply might have waited too long to file to get a patent).

A) Prior art which dates back just before your date of invention: It would seem to seem sensible that when prior art exists which dates before your date of invention, you should not be entitled to acquire a patent on that invention since you would not truly become the first inventor. Section 102(a) from the patent law specifically describes the things which can be utilized for 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 usa, prior to your date of invention. Even if you have no patent or written documentation showing that your invention was known in america, the PTO may still reject your patent application under section 102(a) as lacking novelty should they can show that your invention was generally recognized to people before your date of invention.

2) Public use in the United States: Use by others in the invention you are trying to patent in public in america, just before your date of invention, can take place against your patent application through the PTO. This will make clear sense, since if a person else was publicly using the invention before you even conceived of it, you obviously can not be the initial and first inventor of this, and you do not should obtain a patent because of it.

3) Patented in the United States 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 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 (including 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 usually are not the first inventor (since another person considered it before you) and you also are not eligible to patent onto it.

B)Prior art which dates back before your filing date: As noted above, prior art was considered everything known just before your conception of the invention or everything known to people more than one year before your filing of the patent application. Therefore that in lots of circumstances, even although you were the first one to have conceived/invented something, you will end up unable to get a patent into it if this has entered the world of public knowledge and over one year has passed between that point as well as your filing of the patent application. The objective of this rule is to persuade folks to apply for patents on the inventions as soon as possible or risk losing them forever. Section 102(b) from the patent law defines specifically those kinds of prior art which can be applied against you as being a “one-year bar” as follows:

1) Commercial activity in america: In the event the invention you wish to patent was sold or offered for sale in the United States multiple year before you file a patent application, then you are “barred” from ever acquiring a patent on your own invention.

EXAMPLE: you conceive of your own invention on January 1, 2008, and offer it on the market on January 3, 2008, so as to raise some funds to get a patent. You have to file your patent application no later than January 3, 2009 (1 year from the day you offered it for sale).If you file your patent application on January 4, 2009, for instance, the PTO will reject the application to be barred since it was offered on the market more than one year before your filing date.This also is the case if someone other than yourself begins selling your invention. Assume still that you simply conceived your invention on January 1, 2008, but failed to sell or offer it on the market publicly.You just kept it to yourself.Also assume that on February 1, 2008, someone else conceived of your own invention and began selling it. This starts your twelve months clock running!If you do not file a patent on your own invention by February 2, 2009, (1 year through the date one other person began selling it) then you definitely also will likely be forever barred from acquiring a patent. Note that this provision from the law prevents from getting a patent, even though there is absolutely no prior art dating back to before your date of conception and you also really are the first inventor (thus satisfying 102(a)), for the reason that the invention was offered to the general public for over twelve months before your filing date as a result of another 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 usa: When the invention you want to patent was applied in america by you or any other several year before your filing of a patent application, then you certainly are “barred” from ever obtaining a patent on the invention. Typical examples of public use are whenever you or another person display and use the invention at a trade show or public gathering, on television, or anywhere else in which the general public has potential access.People use will not need to be one that specifically intends to have the public aware of the invention. Any use which can 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 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 on your part or by another individual, available to the public in america or abroad multiple year before your filing date, will prevent you from obtaining a patent on your invention.Note that even an article published by you, concerning your own invention, begins the main one-year clock running.So, for instance, if you detailed your invention in a press ndefzr and mailed it all out, this could 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 america or abroad: If a United States Of America or foreign patent covering your invention issued over a year before your filing date, you will be barred from obtaining a patent. Compare this with the previous section regarding United States and foreign patents which states that, under 102(a) of the patent law, you might be prohibited from getting a patent when 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 obtain a patent on an invention that was disclosed in another patent issued over last year, even in case your date of invention was before the filing date of this patent.

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