Patents: A General Overview
What is a Patent?
When you create a new invention, you may register it as a patent to obtain the exclusive right to make, use, sell, or offer to sale, or import the invention you patented for a period of 20 years from the date of your patent application. This means that you and only you are allowed to use your invention and no one else, unless they have your permission. For your invention to qualify for a patent, your invention must be:
You must file your patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Your application must include:
Specification – written description that is sufficient to enable a person who has ordinary skill in the art to practice the invention
Claims – define in legal language what you think the scope of your invention is
Best known mode for carrying out the invention
What Can You Patent?
Any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter
In other words, it includes anything under the sun made by humankind
Genetically engineered genes
What Can You Not Patent?
There are certain things that are not patentable in the abstract, which are:
Laws of nature
Products of nature
Mathematical formulas or algorithms
Abstract scientific principles are not patentable, but rather it is the application of those principles to solve particular problems that are patentable. If you add something new to an abstract idea that it becomes novel, then your invention may qualify for a patent. For example, a business method implemented by a software can be patentable if the patent is not for the business method itself, but for the software executing the business method. However, keep in mind that your invention will not automatically qualify as a patent just because it is on a computer.
*The above article is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Please contact a business lawyer to find out how any information here applies to your particular circumstances.