Creating a new process or product that helps others accomplish a task in a new way is an exciting endeavor. If your invention proves successful, you can obtain significant advantages by obtaining a patent for it.
Before you file for patent protection you'll want to investigate whether your invention is patentable. Certain types of inventions are not eligible for patenting, such as abstract ideas or products of nature, so you'll want to avoid spending time and money filing for an unpatentable invention. In addition, searching for patents on similar products is an important part of the patenting process.
What is patentable?
According to U.S. patent law, in order to obtain a patent your invention must fit into one of the following 4 categories:
1. Process: an act, or a series of acts or steps that act in conjunction to produce an end result. This can include manufacturing methods, methods of using a device, and even certain methods of doing business.
2. Machines: a concrete thing, consisting of parts, or of certain devices and combination of devices, made up of physical constituents working together to produce a result.
3. Articles of manufacture: An article produced from raw or prepared materials by creating new forms, qualities, properties, or combinations, by hand labor or by machinery. Generally does not include moving parts.
4. Composition of matter: compositions of two or more substances, composite articles, resulting from a chemical union, or a mechanical mixture. Can include gases, fluids, powders, or solids, with examples being pharmaceutical drugs or chemical solutions.
Novelty and non-obviousness
Furthermore, you will also need to demonstrate that your invention is:
· Novel: New, never having been patented or disclosed before, including in a product, journal article, published patent application, or other public setting.
· Non-obvious: Your invention must consist of more than a simple change from what others have done.
Utilizing the help of an experienced patent attorney can greatly aid you in working through the questions above, and in maximizing the chance of your invention obtaining strong patent protection.