Utility Patents

Utility Patent

The most common type of patent is a utility patent. To qualify for a utility patent application, an invention must be:

a process or method for producing a useful, concrete and tangible result (such as a genetic engineering procedure, an investment strategy, computer software or a process for conducting e-commerce on the Internet.)

a machine (usually something with moving parts or circuitry, such as a cigarette lighter, sewage treatment system, laser or photocopier)

an article of manufacture (such as an eraser, tire, transistor or hand tool)

a composition of matter (such as a chemical composition, drug, soap or genetically altered lifeform), or

an improvement of an invention that fits within one of the first four categories. An invention that falls into one or more of the above categories satisfies the minimum requirements to be considered for protection under a utility patent. A utility patent will be issued if the invention is found to:

have some utility, no matter how trivial.

be novel (be different from all previous inventions in some important way).

be nonobvious (a surprising and significant development) to somebody who understands the technical field of the invention.

not to have been abandoned or disclosed publicly according to PTO rules. What types of inventions are not eligible for patent protection? Some types of inventions will not qualify for a utility patent, no matter how interesting or important they are. For example, mathematical formulas, laws of nature, newly discovered substances that occur naturally in the world, and purely theoretical phenomena have long been considered unpatentable. This means, for example, that you can’t patent a general mathematical approach to problem solving or a newly discovered skin lotion found in its natural state.

In addition, the following categories of inventions don’t qualify for a utility patent application:

processes done entirely by human motor coordination, such as choreographed dance routines or a method for meditation;

most protocols and methods used to perform surgery on humans;

printed matter that has no unique physical shape or structure associated with it;

unsafe new drugs;

inventions useful only for illegal purposes; and

processes done entirely by human motor coordination, such as choreographed dance routines or a method for meditation;

most protocols and methods used to perform surgery on humans;

printed matter that has no unique physical shape or structure associated with it  unsafe new drugs inventions useful only for illegal purposes; and  non-operable inventions.

What is patent pending?
Patent pending is the term given to a invention that has been applied for, but not yet issued.

What rights does patent pending provide me?
Typically, you must have an issued patent to sue for patent infringement. There is, however, one exception: if the application has been published, the applicant may later seek royalties for infringement during the post-publication patent pending period. If the patent issues, the inventor will obtain the right to prevent the continuation of any infringing activity that started during the patent pending period. How long does it take to obtain patent pending status?
Typically, our registered patent attorneys try to provide an inventor with patents pending within one month from the date we have been retained. However, more complicated inventions (such as computer software applications) may take longer.

How long does it take to obtain an issued patent?
Typically, the process takes between one year and five years, with an average of 2.8 years from the filing date and issuance date (assuming the invention is allowed for patenting).

Are patents renewable?
Patents aren’t renewable, and once patented, an invention may not be repatented.