4Patent 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 orcompanies from making, using or selling aspecifically defined invention.
8Patent Types There are two types of patent applications that can filled with the USPTO (United States Patent andTrademark 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.
9Patent 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.
10Patent 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.
12Patent Content A patent includes a complete technical description of the invention, together with other olderrelated inventions and devices, which will behelpful for the reader to understand the newinvention.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.
13Patent Content (claims) The patent ends with the recitation of the actualboundaries of the invention, known as the“claims.” Claims are one-sentence descriptions ofthe precise features, which make up the invention.
14Patent Content (claims example) A stool might be claimed as: “A device for supporting a person ina sitting position, having a flat seat supported some distancefrom the ground by legs.”A chair, on the other hand, might be claimed as: “A device forsupporting a person in a sitting position, comprising a flat seat, aback support attached to the seat, and legs supporting the seatsome distance from the ground.”The chair would be patentable “over” the stool, as it has aunique element not found in the stool, namely, the back. Thestool, would, however, not be patentable in light of the chair.
15Patent 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 infringethe chair claim, because it doesn’t have a back.It is important when creating the claims to balance the number ofElements necessary to get a patent allowed (since including moreelements makes the invention more patentable because the elements arenot shown in a prior device) and the minimum number of elements thatdescribe the invention (since including less elements makes it easier tofind infringement in other devices).
17Patent Misconceptions The main thing about patent law that is usuallymisunderstood is the fact that patents grant onlythe right to stop others from making and sellingthe invention. In other words, patents may onlybe used to fence off certain features of theinvention from competitors, and do not mean thatthe owner of the patent is not infringing on thepatent rights of another patent holder.
18What kind of invention can get patent protection?
19Receiving 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 specifictechnical categories and must also meet threerequirements: utility, novelty and non-obviousness.Utility means usefulness. Each invention must be useful for some purpose.
20Receiving 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:It was known or used by others in the U.S. before the applicant “invented” it.It was patented or described in a printed publication anywhere before the applicant “invented” it.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..
21Receiving a Patent (continued) 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..It was described in a U.S. patent granted to someone else that was filed before the applicant “invented” it.It was not actually invented by the applicant.Before the applicant’s “invention,” it was made by someone else in the U.S. who did not abandon, suppress or conceal it.
22Receiving 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.
23Receiving a Patent (continued) There are four specific technical categories of invention:ProcessesMachinesArticles of manufacture (things that are made, like a pencil)Compositions of matter (chemical compounds).Not all new and useful inventions can be patented; instead, onlythose inventions that fall within these categories are eligible forpatent protection. Things such as laws of nature, naturallyoccurring products of nature and physical phenomena are noteligible for patent protection because they do not fall within oneof the identified classes of invention.
24What was the first patent in the US issued for…any guesses?
26First US Patent…Potash?!? On July 31, 1790 Samuel Hopkins was issuedthe first patent for a process of making potash,an ingredient used in fertilizer. The patent wassigned by President George Washington.
27First US Patent…Potash?!? This first patent, as well as the more than 6million patents issued since then, can be seenon the Department of Commerce's U.S. Patentand Trademark Office website at:The original document is in the collections ofthe Chicago Historical Society.
28How much does it costto get a patent?(ok maybe not this much)
29Patent Cost Many different companies offer a variety of services to help inventors obtain patents.The US Patent Office charges a $110 patentapplication filling fee.The lowest prices we found through variouspatent services were:Patent search: $399Provisional patent application: $499
30Patent Cost (continued) So unless you are an attorney, you areLooking at a minimum cost of $1,208 to file aUS patent.Some patent services were MUCH higherranging over $3,000.
33Intermittent 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.
34Intermittent 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 1969.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.
36The iPodHitchin, 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.
37The iPodHe 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.
38The iPodHis 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?