The short answer: It depends on whether your invention meets the requirements stated by the Patent and Trademark Office. Not all patent applications will be recognized or registered even if the inventors insist otherwise. Not even well-known inventors with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of registered patents are assured that their pending applications will pass the stringent process.
What then can be patented? Let’s take a look at the factors that affect the success of your patent application, among other matters.
According to the U.S. patent law, any individual who discovers, makes or invents any novel and useful machine, process, composition of matter, manufacture, or any novel and useful improvement on them may file for a patent. From the definition, the USPTO will grant a patent right if and when these four requirements are met:
You have to carefully consider whether you, indeed, have a patentable subject matter before filing its patent application. You may or may not be granted the patent but you likely won’t be given a refund if it isn’t granted – and the patent process is costly, too.
In terms of novelty, the invention should be new in the sense that it must be different from the existing knowledge in the public domain, in published applications, and from prior patents, among others; these are known as prior art.
The utility requirement is met by showing proof that the invention can physically accomplish something. In other words, it should work as the inventor intended or it produces actual results. In reality, the USPTO isn’t likely to challenge the patent based on utility unless its underlying logic has serious flaws. Exceptions, such as on design patents that don’t need to meet the utility requirement, apply.
Concrete Evidence Required
While your idea seems novel, useful and unobvious, it cannot be protected by a patent. Instead, your idea must be embodied in one or more of these concrete manifestations, among others:
Does your idea fall into one of these categories? You can’t be too sure even then because there are subject matters that are simply beyond the scope of patent laws. These include naturally-occurring substances (i.e., these cannot be invented); mathematical formulas (i.e., these may be copyrighted instead); laws of nature (i.e., man’s laws doesn’t apply to them); and processes that can be entirely performed with the human body (e.g., fool-proof technique for shooting a ball from the 3-point line).
For details of the patent application, please contact us for free consulation.
CtR Intellectual Property Co.
Offering Professional Patent Application & Related Services
According to the United States patent law, inventors can secure and protect their rights to their works by applying for a patent. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) classifies patents into four different types and an inventor can apply for one or two patents, such as a utility patent and provisional patent.
When people think of a patent, it’s most likely that they are referring to or thinking of a utility patent. Keep in mind that a utility patent is a lengthy technical document with details about the use of a new machine, system, or process. The document can contain descriptions, drawings and images of the invention, a must for its registration.
Congress defines the kinds of inventions covered by utility patents. But with Internet-delivered software, the Internet of Things, and genetic engineering, among other emerging technologies, the definition is being challenged.
Under the patent law, an inventor can file a less formal document as proof that he was in possession of the invention and he had sufficient knowledge of how to make it work (i.e., the utility requirement). This is known as a provisional patent, which goes hand in hand with a utility patent.
Let’s say that you filed a provisional patent for your invention. When it’s on file, your patent is considered as pending and you have the applicable property rights to your invention. You should file a formal utility patent within one year from filing the provisional patent.
The design patent doesn’t need to meet the utility requirement since it protects decorative design on a utilitarian item. The typical design patent document consists almost entirely of drawings or pictures with a few words and, thus, these are notoriously difficult to search on the USPTO database.
This can be applied for a wide range of ideas and items. These include the design for shoes, the shape of a designer bottle, and even user interfaces.
A plant patent is obviously designed to protect new types of plants that have been produced through non-sexual methods, such as cuttings. Emphasis must be made that it generally covers conventional horticulture and not genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
You don’t have to be limited to filing a single patent on an invention. You can actually file two patents for a single item!
You may file a provisional patent on your invention so you have one year to decide when and how to file its related utility patent. In doing so, you’re expanding patent protection and mitigating your risk of another person claiming the same or similar invention.
Regardless of the type of patent you chose, your main goal is to protect your invention from infringement by others. You will then have a higher chance of getting a good return on your investment once you start profiting from your invention.
CtR Intellectual Property Co.
Offering Professional Patent and Trademark Application & Related Services
Patents, copyrights and trademarks are different from each other and each one serves a different purpose. All three, nonetheless, are forms of intellectual property (IP) protection that every individual with an invention, an idea, or a trademark should seriously consider.
Patents Are For Inventions
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues patents, the grant of property rights to an inventor. In general, a new patent has a term of 20 years from the date when its application for a patent was filed in the United States. In special cases, however, the term starts from the date an earlier related application was filed but the maintenance fees must be updated. Under certain circumstances, the patent holder can apply for patent term adjustments or extensions.
The patents filed with the USPTO are only effective within the United States as well as to its possessions and territories. Many, if not most, inventors then apply patents for their inventions in an international body to protect their inventions in certain jurisdictions.
The property rights conferred by a patent include “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the item covered in the United States, as well as from “importing” it into the United States. Keep in mind that what’s actually granted isn’t the right to make, use, sell, offer for sale, or import the item but the right to exclude others from doing so.
Trademarks Are for Words and Others
A trademark refers to a name, word, symbol or device used in trading products to indicate their source and to distinguish them from others. A servicemark is similar to a trademark but it’s used to distinguish the origin or source of a service, not a product. In most cases, a servicemark can also be called a trademark for convenience purposes.
Trademark rights can be used in preventing other individuals and organizations from the use of confusingly similar-looking or similar-sounding marks. But these aren’t intended to prevent others from manufacturing, selling and offering to sell the same products and/or services. For example, McDonald’s has a trademark so it has exclusive use to the brand and its related images but it doesn’t have the right to prevent KFC, Wendy’s and Five Guys to sell burgers, fries and shakes.
Copyrights Are for Original Works of Authorship
Copyrights are granted to authors or creators of “original works of authorship” that include but aren’t limited to literary, intellectual, musical, dramatic, and artistic works, both unpublished and published. Under the 1976 Copyright Act, the copyright owner has the exclusive right to his or her work, which can include reproduction of the copyrighted work, distribution of its copies, performance of the work in a public venue, preparation of derivative works, and display of the work publicly.
Which IP protection is right for you?
For details of the patent application or trademark registration, please contact us for free consultation.
CtR Intellectual Property Co.
Offering Professional Patent and
Trademark Application & Related Services