The requirements for patenting an invention are set forth by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The current criteria necessary to acquire a patent in Texas and other U.S. locations seems simple. They include:
- Utility: It must be useful to one or more industries.
- Novelty: It must be new and original.
- Non-obvious: It must not be readily apparent.
These requirements are much more complex than they appear on the surface. Before you begin the process of applying for a patent, it is wise to make sure your invention meets the required criteria. Below, we have provided a brief overview of the patent criteria:
The utility criterion
Your invention must provide a useful purpose or service, and it must be operable at the time of your patent application. It is vital to note that even if your invention is a prototype that operates crudely, it may meet the utility criterion.
The novelty criterion
Your invention must be original and markedly different from other products or processes. It also cannot have appeared in print before your bid to obtain a patent. However, if you have made significant improvements to an existing invention, you may qualify to patent your improvements.
The non-obvious criterion
The invention you seek to patent must be something that an ordinary person could not figure out and implement. For example, say you discover that adding two more hours of light each day to your cannabis plants helps them grow faster. If you try to patent this discovery, the USPTO will likely reject your application because anyone could make the same discovery.
The issues discussed here represent the tip of the iceberg in ensuring your invention qualifies for patenting. We suggest familiarizing yourself with patent and intellectual property law before submitting your application to the USPTO.