So you have an idea, or perhaps you’ve already created something. Awesome! But now you may be wondering, “Is my idea patentable?”
Whether or not your invention is patentable is governed by 35 U.S.C. §101 (Chapter 35 of the United States Code, Section 101). In essence if you invent or discover a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter than you may be entitled to a patent.
When applying for a patent, the first thing the examiner will look at is if you have met the requirement for 35 U.S.C. §101 – it is also known as the utility requirement. Typically, this is the easiest element to meet. Additionally, 35 U.S.C. §101 has been expanded in the law through 35 U.S.C. §102 and 35 U.S.C. §103. The latter two sections expand on the language “new” mentioned in 35 U.S.C. §101. 35 U.S.C. §102 requires that your invention be new/novel, while 35 U.S.C. §103 requires an invention to be nonobvious.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, “That’s an awfully lot of law that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.” But that’s ok! As long as you think you have invented something that has a use, it is new (has never been invented or discovered before) and is not obvious (you have found a unique solution to your problem that other people also seeking solutions to the same problem probably would not have thought of) – then your idea may be patentable, and it’s time to give me a call!
Don’t forget, that just because an idea or invention may not be patentable does not mean that it might not be able to be protected by another form of intellectual property such as a trademark, copyright or trade secret. Contact me so we can explore other ways to protect your idea or invention! Additionally, many people believe that they cannot bring their item to market because they don’t have a patent. Just because your idea may not be patentable does not mean you can’t still market and sell it, and in some cases be extremely profitable. Finally, just because you have a patent on your item doesn’t guarantee that your patented product will make you a millionaire either. A patent is simply a means of protecting your property, not a way to make money with your invention.
Now that I’ve figured out my idea or invention may qualify for a patent how do I go about the patent application process? Well, stay tuned for our next installment! Until then – be kind, and promote progress, don’t stifle it.