A patent is a legal instrument by which people and companies define their legal property. It is best to conceptualize a patent as an intellectual property deed. Just as a deed for property defines the measurements, description, meets and bounds of a property, it simultaneously provides a clear indication in the event of a trespasser or an encroachment to the property. The language of a patent is designed and used such that a lawyer or skilled patent practitioner can assess if anyone is infringing a patented invention or product. Each country however, has different rules about how and what you can claim as your invention. It is for these and other reasons that wise inventors hire skilled professionals to prepare and prosecute their patent applications.
In order for an invention to be patentable it must be useful, novel and non-obvious as defined in the patent law. However, there are time limitations which might bar an inventor from obtaining patent protection for his invention. The most important of these is the one-year bar, which provides that an invention cannot be patented if: “the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country more than one year prior to the application for patent in the United States.” 35 U.S.C. § 102(b).
There are three types of patents:
- Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process (such as the process for making a chemical or a drug), machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.
- Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture (such as a jewelry design or a feature for a shoe or sneaker); and
- Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.
What is not patentable?
- Vague concepts or ideas, or statements of intended results without teaching how to apply the ideas or accomplish the results;
- Laws of nature such as gravity, magnetism or other physics principles;
- Mathematical algorithms; and
- Purely mental processes.
At Baker and Rannells, we can assist you in obtaining a patent to protect your invention. The first step is for you to download and fill out a short disclosure form at the link below to get ready for a first consultation with one of our patent attorneys. Disclosure Form Within the disclosure form, you can describe your invention to us in detail and show us any sketches or diagrams you have developed. We will keep this information confidential even if you decide not to go forward. At that first meeting, you can also tell if you know of any other technology, literature, or invention that already exists that relates to yours.
Prior to the first consultation, we recommend that you do a quick search on the Internet or try a search on the website for the United States Patent and Trademark Office website at www.uspto.gov to see what related inventions already exist. We will however be happy to do a quick search, or a more detailed search, to determine if your invention is patentable if you decide to hire us to represent you.
If you decide to engage our law firm to assist you, we will ask that you complete a more lengthy disclosure form.