Are You Eligible For A Patent?

If you have invented a product that you believe to be original or an improvement upon a product that already exists, you might be able to get a patent. Since the patenting application process is extensive and requires a fee for applying, you should make sure you are eligible before you begin. Here are some things to know about patent eligibility.

What inventions have the ability to be patented?

There are many types of inventions that could be patented by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In order to be eligible, it must fit one of the following criteria:

  • It is a machine with moving parts
  • It can be manufactured
  • It has a composition of matter, such as soap
  • It was invented as an improvement on an existing product
  • It includes a process with a tangible or useful result

These are only the basic categories that describe what can be patented. If it meets this initial criteria, the USPTO will then look at other areas of eligibility. For example, they will require that the product or invention is useful even if that usefulness is very trivial, that it is considered non-obvious, and that it is novel.

What does it mean for an invention to be novel?

One of the main criteria to be eligible for a patent is having an invention be novel. This means at least one part of the invention is considered different from similar inventions that came before it. The patent office will look at the invention to determine if it has improved or changed enough from other inventions similar to it. They use different factors when figuring out if the invention is novel or not, including how much of it is different from the other inventions and whether or not those other inventions have recent patents.

When is an invention considered non-obvious?

Another area of criteria for a patented invention is one that can be considered non-obvious. It must not be something anyone could have figured out on their own, but an invention that may be surprising or unexpected to the average person. It is usually something that even someone skilled in that area would not know to have expected. For example, inventing a new bicycle accessory might be very obvious to someone who works on bicycles. It must go beyond what someone in that field could have figured out on their own.

What inventions are denied patents?

There are also some inventions that will not be eligible for a patent. This includes new drugs that are not safe, any inventions used for illegal activities, methods that performs surgery on humans, and non-operable inventions or processes that require complete human coordination, such as a new way to meditate.

For more information, contact Kaufhold & Dix Patent Law or a similar firm.