Intellectual Property Law · Licensing · Technology Innovation

What’s eligible for a patent?

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2021 | Patents |

When you think of patents, you may think they only apply to inventions, such as machines or everyday items. For example, Thomas Edison, who invented the lightbulb, had over 1,000 patents. Yet, the patent law covers many other things, including certain processes.

Anyone who’s creating new machines or processes may wonder if they can receive a patent for their development. Despite the seemingly open nature of things to patent, there are some limitations to what can receive a patent.

Limitations to patent law

A patent is granted for machines, manufactured items, and certain chemical compounds. It can only cover something that’s useful,  and which works for its intended purpose. Natural processes and physical phenomena aren’t eligible for patents.

Suggestions and abstract ideas aren’t eligible for patents. There are also limitations surrounding things related to nuclear materials or atomic materials used to make weapons. 

There are also limitations surrounding inventions that have already been patented or used in this or other countries or that have been described in a printed publication. If you are unsure, it is best to check.

Patent law is a complex area that must be handled properly. Failing to understand how to prepare and submit a patent application properly could mean the United States Patent and Trademark Office denies your request. Anyone who needs assistance with matters relating to patents should consult with someone familiar with these cases so they can learn their options and have guidance with getting everything done.  Remember, sometimes others are working on a similar idea, and unnecessary delays could prove costly to you and your dreams.