Got an Idea? Here’s How to Tell if It’s Eligible for a Patent

Applying for a patent on your idea is a difficult process to understand; without the proper intellectual property practices, you might find both you and your idea floundering. Here are some of the ways to tell if your idea is eligible for a patent.

The definition of a patent

Patent law declares that any person who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent,” according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Eligibility requirements and patent types

Your patent must be useful, new, and non-obvious. While the utility aspect of a patent only refers to utility patents, it means that your idea must perform a function or enhance a process. These are the most common patents procured, making up 90% of patent documents in the United States. Other types of patents include design patents and plant patents. For more information on each type of patent, contact your local intellectual property practices or a patent attorney.

Subject matter of a patent

Patents can really be any new or useful idea, process, or invention. As such, you can get many things patented, but it needs to fit within the aforementioned guidelines. Patentable subject matter can range anywhere from new processes in business to sports equipment to medicines to man-made bacteria. While naturally occurring ideas or organisms cannot be patented, any man-made organism, including bacteria or genes, can be patented. Naturally occurring events, such as physical phenomena also cannot be patented.

Patent denials

Simply changing the color of a previous innovation isn’t considered a patentable idea. Additionally, if this innovation or invention has appeared or has been described in any printed publication across the globe, a patent cannot be obtained. If an inventor has described their idea in a printed publication before but has not patented it, a patent must be obtained within a year of the publication date. A machine that does not perform its intended task is not patentable.

How to get more information

Patent law contains thousands of twists and turns to navigate when you’re trying to obtain a patent for your idea. If you want the correct patent protection for your idea, you must contact intellectual property practices to ensure you’re getting the best coverage. There are patent lawyers trained to patent your innovation. Call the Eldredge Law firm for the best in intellectual property practices today.

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