Patenting is an essential business activity for today’s technology companies. Used properly, patents are powerful business tools for foiling your competitors, and they are one of the best ways to protect new products and processes. The right combination of patents can be worth millions of dollars to its owner.
The law governing patents and patenting is complex and changes often. The relationship of patents and other intellectual property assets to business strategy has evolved rapidly in the last decade or so. The costs involved in securing intellectual property assets are difficult to predict. As an intangible business asset, patents and other intellectual property assets can be difficult to manage.
The world is made up of patented devices and technologies. It is impossible to look around and not see an invention, device, or type of technology that is protected by at least one patent. Many small and large companies alike depend on their patents to keep business growing and advancing to new heights. But, what qualifies as a patent? Not every idea, invention, or design is eligible to be patented. Moreover, not all intellectual property qualifies to register as a patent. Depending on the nature of the intellectual property, a company that owns intellectual property must know how to best treat, secure, and protect their intellectual property.
It is highly recommended to seek the professional advice of a patent attorney in San Francisco, CA to further discuss and address any questions and concerns involving intellectual property and patents. At the Law Office of Christopher Peil, we have years of intellectual property knowledge and experience. We can help you and your business with all your patent and intellectual property legal needs.
A patent is a type of intellectual property. It gives the owner or inventor a mini monopoly over their invention, design, or technology. The mini monopoly, however, is only granted for a limited time. In the majority of cases, the time limit lasts for 20 years. During this time, no other entity can use, sell, duplicate, or make the patent. Doing so causes the issue of infringement, and the owner has the right to sue in federal court for damages.
A patent is not automatically awarded; in reality, the process to obtain a patent for an invention is long. In order to secure a patent, an individual, business, company, or organization will have to submit an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office or USPTO. It is advised to consult with a San Francisco, CA patent attorney who can guide you through the rigorous patent application process.
In order to be patentable, an invention needs to meet the following requirements set by the USPTO:
- The invention must have a useful purpose.
- The invention must meet the legal definition of “novel.”
- The invention can’t be something that anyone could invent (nonobvious).
- The invention must be a patentable subject matter.
Under patent law, the invention must be “useful.” In other words, it must have a useful purpose. For instance, computer and electronic technologies are most commonly known to have the quality of being useful. Regardless of the nature of the invention, whether it is a chemical compound or part of a new machination, it needs to meet the requirement of being practical and useful. In actual practice, the USPTO finds that almost all inventions have a useful purpose. An example of an invention that would not have a useful purpose would be one that violated the physical laws of the universe. The invention would not have a useful purpose because it could not work.
The invention needs to be novel or new in order to be patentable. It cannot be the same as other prior products, technologies, or processes. If the public is aware or has knowledge of the invention before the patent is filed for protection, it will not be deemed patentable. The novelty requirement also states that the invention cannot be described in a publication or published before the applicant files for patent protection and rights. However, it is important to note that if the inventor does disclose the invention to the public, he or she has one year from the initial disclosure to file a patent application. If he or she fails to file within that year, the inventor cannot obtain a patent. A patent attorney in San Francisco, CA should be consulted right away in order to avoid delays or miss a patent application deadline.
In order to be considered nonobvious, the invention needs to be sufficiently different or improved to be patentable. Nonobvious in the intellectual property world is defined as an invention that cannot be “obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the area related to the invention.” If another person in the same field is able to construct the invention because of its obvious nature, the invention in question may not be patentable. Consulting a San Francisco, CA patent attorney can help you determine whether an invention meets the nonobvious requirement set forth by US law.
Patent-Eligible Subject Matter
For and invention to be patent-eligible subject matter, it must meet the statutory requirements for patents. §35 U.S.C. 101 defines patentable subject matter as any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter or any new and useful improvement thereof subject to the conditions and requirements of the statute.
Patentable subject matter must satisfy two criteria. The first is that the subject matter must be a process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter. The second criteria require that the subject matter cannot fall within a judicial exception, such as abstract subject matter.
Patent law is complex. It is advised to seek the assistance of an experienced patent attorney in San Francisco, CA to further explain and guide you through the intricate world of intellectual property.
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