In order for an invention to be considered patentable by a patent office, the invention must be:
- Novel and non-obvious over prior public disclosures;
- Useful; and
- Patentable subject matter.
Novelty and non-obviousness are addressed by the patent office performing a search to determine the state of the art and whether the invention has been publicly disclosed. The patent office then determines whether the differences between the invention and the state of the art constitute steps which would have been obvious to a notional “person skilled in the art”.
Usefulness, or utility, requires that an invention have some identifiable benefit and is capable of being used. The utility requirement prevents the patenting of fantastical or hypothetical inventions, such as a death-ray gun or a perpetual motion machine.
Patentable subject matter requires that an invention be directed to “a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter”. Inventions typically satisfy the patentable subject matter requirement if they have a physical embodiment or results in something that is tangible. Software and business method patent applications can run afoul of this requirement if they are not carefully drafted by a professional.
If you would like to determine whether your invention is patentable, please contact us to consider obtaining a patent search.