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Can You Patent Your Invention?

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.

 

Four Requirements

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:

 

  • The subject matter, such as a method or a machinery, should be patentable.
  • It must be new or novel.
  • It must have some usefulness or utility.
  • It must not be obvious.

 

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:

 

  • A method or a process, such as a new process for making concrete
  • A machine or machinery, typically with circuitry and/or moving parts (e.g., gears)
  • A manufactured item that accomplished a result with little to no moving parts
  • An asexually reproduced new plan variety
  • A new composition of matter, such as a new drug

 

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).

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

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