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1 United States Patents An Overview. 2 VIDEO Should this guy look into getting a patent?? (click here)

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Presentation on theme: "1 United States Patents An Overview. 2 VIDEO Should this guy look into getting a patent?? (click here)"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 United States Patents An Overview

2 2 VIDEO Should this guy look into getting a patent?? (click here)

3 3 What is a patent? Fournier

4 4 Patent Definition A patent is a limited right granted by the government (all patents are limited by country) that allows the inventor to stop other people or companies from making, using or selling a specifically defined invention.

5 5 How long does a patent last?

6 6 Patent Duration In the United States, a patent term lasts for a period of twenty years from date of the filling of the patent application.

7 7 What types of patent applications are available?

8 8 Patent Types There are two types of patent applications that can filled with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office): Provisional (patent pending) - Provisional patent applications are not examined by the USPTO and never directly become an actual patent. –They are placeholders used as a way to get a filing date for the technical description that is contained in the application. –All provisional applications must have a non-provisional application filed in their place within one year of the provisional filing date.

9 9 Patent Types (continued) Non-provisional applications (utility or design), unlike provisional applications, are examined by the USPTO. If all of the requirements for patentability are satisfied, the non-provisional application will mature into a patent.

10 10 Patent Types (continued) Both provisional and non-provisional applications must include a complete written description or specification of the invention. The written description must fully comply with the requirements discussed earlier, being a complete and clear description of how to make and use the invention. –It is very important to consider, especially when filing a provisional application, whether all of the technical details of the invention are developed enough to be included in a complete description, because the non-provisional application and ultimate patent will have to depend on it.

11 11 What is IN a patent?

12 12 Patent Content A patent includes a complete technical description of the invention, together with other older related inventions and devices, which will be helpful for the reader to understand the new invention. –The description must be in enough detail that readers who are skilled in the field of the invention can make and use the invention themselves. The patent document also may contain detailed drawings.

13 13 Patent Content (claims) The patent ends with the recitation of the actual boundaries of the invention, known as the claims. Claims are one-sentence descriptions of the precise features, which make up the invention.

14 14 Patent Content (claims example) A stool might be claimed as: A device for supporting a person in a sitting position, having a flat seat supported some distance from the ground by legs. A chair, on the other hand, might be claimed as: A device for supporting a person in a sitting position, comprising a flat seat, a back support attached to the seat, and legs supporting the seat some distance from the ground. The chair would be patentable over the stool, as it has a unique element not found in the stool, namely, the back. The stool, would, however, not be patentable in light of the chair.

15 15 Patent Content (claims example) Infringement is found when another device, sometimes called the accused product, includes all of the elements listed in the claims. Using the chair example, the chair would infringe the stool claim, Because it has all of the elements, but the stool does not infringe the chair claim, because it doesnt have a back. It is important when creating the claims to balance the number of Elements necessary to get a patent allowed (since including more elements makes the invention more patentable because the elements are not shown in a prior device) and the minimum number of elements that describe the invention (since including less elements makes it easier to find infringement in other devices).

16 16 Any misconceptions about patents?

17 17 Patent Misconceptions The main thing about patent law that is usually misunderstood is the fact that patents grant only the right to stop others from making and selling the invention. In other words, patents may only be used to fence off certain features of the invention from competitors, and do not mean that the owner of the patent is not infringing on the patent rights of another patent holder.

18 18 What kind of invention can get patent protection?

19 19 Receiving a Patent In the United States, there are several requirements to receive a patent for an invention. An invention must fall within one of four specific technical categories and must also meet three requirements: utility, novelty and non-obviousness. Utility means usefulness. Each invention must be useful for some purpose.

20 20 Receiving a Patent (continued) Novelty relates to the uniqueness of the invention, in that the elements of the invention (found in the claims, described earlier) have not already been developed and/or described by someone else. An invention is considered to be not new or novel if: 1.It was known or used by others in the U.S. before the applicant invented it. 2.It was patented or described in a printed publication anywhere before the applicant invented it. 3.It was patented or described in a printed publication anywhere more than one year before the applicant filed an application for a patent in the U.S..

21 21 Receiving a Patent (continued) 4.It was in public use or on sale in the U.S. more than one year before the applicant filed an application for a patent in the U.S.. 5.It was described in a U.S. patent granted to someone else that was filed before the applicant invented it. 6.It was not actually invented by the applicant. 7.Before the applicants invention, it was made by someone else in the U.S. who did not abandon, suppress or conceal it.

22 22 Receiving a Patent (continued) Non-obviousness means that the invention is not just an obvious small improvement to a known device or process. –In practice, this is evaluated by an examiner. The examiner will usually show obviousness by combining two existing inventions to find all of the elements of the invention being examined. –For example, if the inventor is trying to patent a chair with arms and the prior art shows a patent for chairs without arms and another patent for sofas with arms, the examiner will state that putting arms on a chair is an obvious improvement, since arms were already put on other seating devices.

23 23 Receiving a Patent (continued) There are four specific technical categories of invention: 1.Processes 2.Machines 3.Articles of manufacture (things that are made, like a pencil) 4.Compositions of matter (chemical compounds). Not all new and useful inventions can be patented; instead, only those inventions that fall within these categories are eligible for patent protection. Things such as laws of nature, naturally occurring products of nature and physical phenomena are not eligible for patent protection because they do not fall within one of the identified classes of invention.

24 24 What was the first patent in the US issued for…any guesses?

25 25 First US Patent

26 26 First US Patent…Potash?!? On July 31, 1790 Samuel Hopkins was issued the first patent for a process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer. The patent was signed by President George Washington.

27 27 First US Patent…Potash?!? This first patent, as well as the more than 6 million patents issued since then, can be seen on the Department of Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website at: The original document is in the collections of the Chicago Historical Society.

28 28 How much does it cost to get a patent? (ok maybe not this much)

29 29 Patent Cost Many different companies offer a variety of services to help inventors obtain patents. The US Patent Office charges a $110 patent application filling fee. The lowest prices we found through various patent services were: 1.Patent search: $399 2.Provisional patent application: $499

30 30 Patent Cost (continued) So unless you are an attorney, you are Looking at a minimum cost of $1,208 to file a US patent. Some patent services were MUCH higher ranging over $3,000.

31 31 What are some actual patent legality examples?

32 32 Intermittent Windshield Wipers

33 33 Intermittent Windshield Wipers The journey to the intermittent windshield wipers invention began on Robert Kearns' wedding night in 1953, when a champagne cork popped and struck his left eye, which eventually went almost totally blind. Nearly ten years later, in 1963, Kearns was driving his Ford Galaxie through a light rain, and the constant movement of the wiper blades irritated his already tenuous vision. He modeled his invention on the human eye, which automatically blinks every few seconds. In 1967 he received a patent.

34 34 Intermittent Windshield Wipers Kearns won one of the best known patent infringement cases against Ford Motor Company. Having invented and patented the intermittent windshield wiper mechanism he tried to interest the Big Three" auto makers in licensing the technology. They all rejected his proposal, yet began to install intermittent wipers in their cars beginning in The Ford case went to trial in 1990 and there were two trials. Ford lost, although the court held that Ford's infringement was not willful (meaning that damages for infringement would not be enhanced). Ford agreed to settle with Kearns for 10.1 million with an agreement of no further appeals.

35 35 The iPod

36 36 The iPod Hitchin, Hertfordshire, U.K.: Kane Kramer left school at 15. But that didn't stop him from-- apparently -- inventing the iPod. Kramer is now 52. The father of three had to sell his home last year and move his wife and kids to a rental home after he was forced to shut-down his struggling furniture business. Kramer conceived and built a "Portable Data Processing and Storage System" in 1979, at age 23. He received a UK patent in 1985 and a US patent in 1987.

37 37 The iPod He called it the IXI, and it stored just 3.5 minutes of music on to a chip – but Kramer figured the capacity would improve over time. Kramer tried to commercialize his device, but in 1988, unable to raise about $100K in U.S. dollars and feuding with his partners, he couldn't renew patents across 120 countries and the technology became public property. Today Apple sells about 100 iPods a minute. Kramer is at least now seeking to negotiate with Apple to gain some compensation from the copyright that he owns on the drawings.

38 38 The iPod His sketches reflected a credit-card-sized player with a rectangular screen and a central menu button to scroll through a selection of music tracks – seem familiar?

39 39 Questions? Presented by: Steve Myers Matt Harris Jihad Dakkak


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