A patent can be obtained for inventing something or incorporating new technologies into an existing invention. However, some things, such as business methods, scientific theories, mathematical methods, and biological processes, cannot be patented. It can be challenging to determine the requirements of a patent. However, there are guidelines to help you determine if you can obtain a patent. The invention or product should meet the following five requirements for a patent application to be approved by the USPTO.
Patentable Subject Matter
The USPTO has set standards for the eligibility of a patent. This includes the types of inventions that can be patented. One essential requirement is that the subject matter should be patentable. For example, certain subject matters, such as mathematical theories, abstract ideas, or laws of nature, are not patentable. To qualify as a patentable subject matter, the invention must meet two criteria: the invention should be man-made and not fall within the exceptions recognized by the court.
Novelty is another requirement for a patent. The invention or product must not already be patented, used by others or known to others in this country, or described in a printed application in another country before the patent application is filed. This requirement ensures that if someone wants to patent their invention, the invention does not already exist.
Another criterion for novelty is the statutory bar which entails that an invention should not be described in a printed application or patented in this or another country, nor should it be on sale or made public knowledge before the patent application is filed. This also means a person might lose their right to patent their invention if they delay applying.
One of the requirements for getting a patent issued for an invention is utility. While usefulness could mean different things for different inventors, the U.S. patent law has provided applicants with a relatively broad definition of what the usefulness of an invention means to make comprehending and satisfying this requirement more straightforward.
For an invention to meet the utility requirement, it should have immediate use rather than merely having future or speculative usefulness. This would require the inventor to provide details in the patent application on how the invention can be put to immediate use.
An invention should be substantial, specific, and credible to fulfill the utility requirement. For a product or invention to be substantial, it must have real-world use, and for it to be specific, the invention should be useful for a specific reason.
Another general requirement for patentability is that the invention should be non-obvious in its conceptualization and sufficiently inventive. This means the invention cannot be anticipated by a person with skills and knowledge of the relevant art by assessing technologies and information that apply to the industry that the invention belongs to and existed at the time the invention was created. For example, an invention can be deemed obvious and non-patentable if it yields a predictable result and includes or utilizes elements that are already used in existing inventions.
The enablement requirement refers to the disclosure and specification of the invention that must be included in the patent application. In the specification, the inventor must provide details of the working of the invention and include its precise legal definition.
The description should be sufficient to enable a person with knowledge of the relevant art to use and understand the invention without further undue experimentation. The patent applicant is also required to disclose the mode of practicing the invention when disclosing information. Patent attorneys can help you determine if your patent application meets all the requirements.