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Introduction To Patents

The world of intellectual property is fascinating and omnipresent. Every day, we are affected by copyrights, trademarks, and patents, even when we don't actively think about them. Massive court cases rage over millions of dollars as colossal corporations vehemently disagree about infringements, legitimacy, and dilutions. Whether you want to file your own or are simply interested in the subject, here is an introduction to patents:

What is a patent?

A patent is an exclusive right that is awarded to the creator of an invention. In this context, an invention is a product or solution which solves some existing problem. A patent allows the holder to prevent other individuals or entities from creating the invention. Patents last 20 years from the date they are created and may be transferred to other individuals or even totally abandoned.

The purpose of a patent is to publicize knowledge in exchange for some sort of potential compensation for the patent holder. If someone holds a patent, then they might become famous or receive money for the patent. The government uses the patent system to incentivize research and development, which ultimately contributes to the wealth and well-being of the nation.

In order for your invention to qualify for a patent, it must pass several major tests, known as patentability requirements.

Is your invention novel?

Your invention must be new in some way in order to qualify for a patent. You cannot retroactively patent something that existed before the patent system (such as a basic saddle or the ancient art of tempera painting).

Is your invention non-obvious?

If your invention solves a problem in a way that is already obvious to the average person in your field of work, then your invention is obvious and thus does not qualify for a patent. In other words, your invention must approach the problem at hand in a way that surpasses the scope of similar solutions to the problem (or your invention must surpass solution attempts that failed).

Is your invention useful?

Finally, your invention needs to provide some sort of tangible benefit in order to be considered for a patent. To do so, your invention must work, it must provide some beneficial effect, and it must solve a problem that matters.

The burden of proving usefulness actually lies with the patent office, who must show that the invention clearly is not useful. If they are unable to conclusively prove such, then the patent may be granted.

To learn more about patents, contact a law office like Hamilton IP Law PC.