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How Do I Patent an Invention?

Generally, an invention, or patentable invention, has to be new, not obvious, and original. Many reportable inventions may consist of processes, mixtures, compositions of matter, machines, and methods. Generally, inventions are protected by the United States Patent System as a foreign property right protected by the United States Constitution.

The objectives of the patent system are to prevent the unauthorized public access to, use, manufacture, sale, and authority of the inventions. This ensures the availability of a product that meets the needs of the public and is protected by law. The goal of the patent system is to encourage the researchers and developers to continue to develop the products and technology to meet the needs and desires of the consumer. The goals of the patent system also include discouraging the unauthorized competition from companies and individuals that wish to develop competing products, technology, or processes that render those products legally unavailable or compete unreasonably with the United States.

The legal basis of inventions is to provide a patent rights for an invention. “Invention” means a new idea, discovery, invention, or method. The term “invention” is considered very broad in the USPTO sense of the term. While generally there is broad meaning to the term, there is some industry specific meaning. The laws of different states often have a different view of what an invention is.

Typically, in the USPTO view, an invention is a new chemical, device, or process that produces something that is new and provides a service that was not available before. This definition excludes utility patents such as baths and spas and other similar inventions that provide services that are immodestly provided. Additionally, the term excludes process and fabrication innovations. However, in practice most patent law firms will treat all forms of inventions as one category.

In order to get protection for their inventions, inventors must file a patent application. After filing the application, the inventors must wait four years from the date of invention before they can proceed with a lawsuit. Once the patent application is filed, the USPTO will process it. If the patent examiner finds the invention to be eligible, he or she will issue an examiner’s report setting forth the scope of the patent. An examiner’s report is designed to describe the invention in a legal context, to list the claimed invention and to establish the legal obligations of the inventor.

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Once the patent is issued, a USPTO disclosure statement must accompany each issued patent. This statement discloses to the public any developments that may affect the scope of the invention. In addition, the disclosure statement describes how the invention has affected US interests, the commercial objectives of the United States, and any steps the inventor has taken to preserve the supply of goods and services essential to satisfy the objectives. The disclosure statement is signed by the inventor on his or her own behalf. The disclosure statement permits others to make copies of the invention, so long as they do not modify the disclosure document in any way.


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