1. What is a patent ?
  • Definition: The right to EXCLUDE others from making, using or selling the claimed invention during its term 
  • A Patent is a monopoly - you don't have to know about a particular patent to infringe it 
  • In U.S.A., term - from date of first regular application 
  • In U.S.A., issued by the Federal government ( The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, part of the Department of Commerce) based upon an examination of the applicant's claimed invention to determine if it meets the applicable standards 
  • Time from application to issuance - anywhere from about 1 to 4 or more years, average pendency about 2 years 
  • Only an inventor may apply for a patent. At the University, an assignment is required from the inventor before the University could consider incurring costs for the patent application 
2. The anatomy of patent: 
    a. Abstract 
    b. Disclosure 
    c. Drawings 
    d. Claims
    Remember, only the claims define the protected turf 
3. What constitutes patentable invention -- an overview
Anything is patentable that is 
    1. within the realm of patentable subject matter, 
    2. useful, 
    3. novel and 
    4. unobvious. 
4. Scope
"May include anything under the sun that is made by man ... .", In re Chakrabarty, 201 USPQ 352 (CCPA 1979). 
5. Cost to obtain
Anywhere from about US$5,000 to about US$70,000 or more, depending upon the complexity of the invention and the problems encountered in prosecution 
6. Examples
Process - a method or process of doing something, e.g. 
    • a process for manufacturing nylon 
    • a method of treating cancer
    • a process for fermenting beer 
    • a new use of an old chemical.

    Machine - a combination of mechanical elements, e.g. 

    • a carburetor
    • a magnetic resonance imaging machine
    • a door lock 

    Article of manufacture - any tangible entity which has been manufactured (changed by human effort), e.g. 

    • a chair
    • a key ring 
    • hybridoma cells 
    • mutated cell lines 
    • a genetically engineered protein 
    • purified bacterial cultures 
    • composition of matter, e.g. 
    • a new chemical 
    • the purified form of a naturally occurring substance 
    • a new mixture of old elements, as a superconductor 

    Improvement - of any of the above, if it meets the conditions for patentability 

--- Allan A. Fanucci, Pennie & Edmonds