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How Do You Know If Your Invention is Patentable?

December 7, 2023
Kevin Prince

At QuickPatents, we've had the privilege of assisting inventors in securing thousands of patents, including utility patents that protect how a product works, and design patents that protect visually distinctive creations. In this blog post, we'll focus on a fundamental question many inventors ask: "How do you know if your invention is patentable?" Just because you invented something doesn’t mean that it’s protectable with a patent.

Understanding Patentability

Before we delve into the specific criteria for patentability, it's essential to grasp the essence of what patents are all about. Patents grant inventors exclusive rights to their inventions for a certain period and within a certain jurisdiction, preventing others from making, using, selling, or importing the patented invention into the jurisdiction without permission. However, not every invention is eligible for patent protection. To be patentable, an invention must meet specific requirements:

  • Novelty
    Your invention must be new and not already known or publicly disclosed anywhere in the world. This means that even if you've invented something groundbreaking, if it's been previously disclosed or published, it is likely not eligible for a patent.
  • Non-Obviousness
    An invention must not be obvious to someone skilled in the relevant field. In other words, it should involve a level of creativity or innovation that surpasses what is considered ordinary or expected within that field. This requirement is what trips-up most patent applications. Merely taking two things that already exist and slapping them together is not deemed patent worthy. You can’t just add LEDs to a baseball cap and assume that’s patentable, for example.
  • Utility or Usefulness
    Your invention must have a practical, useful purpose. It should serve a beneficial function and not be purely theoretical or frivolous. This is usually pretty easy to demonstrate, and not many patent applications get rejected for lack of usefulness.
  • Patentable Subject Matter
    Not everything can be patented. In some cases, laws may prohibit the patenting of certain subject matter, such as natural phenomena, abstract ideas, or laws of nature. It's important to consult with a registered patent practitioner to determine if your invention falls within the acceptable patentable subject matter
  • Adequate Description
    To obtain a patent, you must provide a clear and detailed description of your invention in the patent application. This description should enable someone skilled in the field to understand and replicate your invention. That is, your patent specification and drawings should show the reader how to make and use the product.
  • Properly Filed Application
    Filing a patent application with the relevant patent office is a critical step. The application must be submitted correctly and within the required time frames, including all of the government forms required.
  • Paying Fees
    Patents typically involve various fees, including filing fees, issue fees, and, in the case of utility patents, maintenance fees. These fees must be paid to maintain your patent rights

The Process of Patent Examination

Once you've determined that your invention meets the criteria for patentability, you can proceed with the patent application process. This involves preparing a comprehensive patent application, which includes detailed drawings, a written description, and claims that define the scope of your invention's protection. After submission, the patent office will examine your application to ensure it meets all requirements.

In summary, knowing whether your invention is patentable involves assessing its novelty, non-obviousness, usefulness, and compliance with patentable subject matter. Properly documenting and describing your invention in a patent application is also crucial. While obtaining a patent can be a complex and time-consuming process, it offers invaluable protection for your intellectual property

At QuickPatents, we specialize in guiding inventors through the patent application journey, from initial assessment to filing and beyond. Our team of experts is here to assist you every step of the way. If you believe you have a patentable invention and want to explore your options, don't hesitate to contact us. We're dedicated to helping you protect your innovative ideas and creations

Feel free to reach out to QuickPatents for personalized assistance in determining the patentability of your invention and navigating the patent application process. Your inventive journey begins with us, and we're committed to helping you succeed!

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