Introduction to Patents: What Can Be Patented?

Welcome to the first installment of our Patent Basics Series! Today we’re diving into the essential criteria that determine what can be patented. To be patentable, an invention must meet three key requirements: novelty, non-obviousness, and utility. Let’s break these down:

Novelty: Your invention must be new. It cannot be something that has been previously disclosed to the public in any form.

Non-obviousness: The invention must not be an obvious improvement of existing technologies known to someone with expertise in the field.

Utility: The invention must have a practical application or must be useful.

To illustrate, consider a new type of garden hose nozzle that conserves water better than any existing nozzle and operates based on a novel mechanism—it likely meets all three criteria. Getting the basics right is your first step toward a successful patent application.

What is Patentable?

  • Machines: Devices or apparatuses composed of moving parts that perform a specific function, such as engines, watches, and manufacturing equipment.
  • Processes: Methods or steps for performing a specific act, often involving industrial or technical processes like manufacturing methods or software encryption techniques.
  • Manufactures: Tangible goods produced through manufacturing processes, including textiles, electronics, or furniture.
  • Compositions of Matter: Chemical compositions, mixtures, or new chemical compounds, such as pharmaceuticals, plastics, or composites.
  • Improvements: New and useful improvements to existing machines, processes, manufactures, or compositions of matter.

What is NOT Patentable?

  • Natural Phenomena: Naturally occurring things like gravity, photosynthesis, or minerals.
  • Abstract Ideas: Theoretical or speculative concepts, including mathematical principles or algorithms by themselves.
  • Laws of Nature: Fundamental principles that govern the natural world, such as the speed of light or the chemical structure of water.

Start Your Patent Journey with Jones Intellectual Property

Ready to protect your innovation and navigate the complexities of patent law? At Jones Intellectual Property, we specialize in guiding inventors through every step of the patent process. Understanding what can and cannot be patented is the first crucial step toward securing your invention’s future. Whether you’re working on a new machine, a groundbreaking process, or an innovative composition of matter, ensuring your invention meets the criteria of novelty, non-obviousness, and utility is essential.

Contact Jones Intellectual Property today to get expert advice and support tailored to your unique invention. Secure your place in the market and protect your intellectual property with a team dedicated to your success. Start your patent journey with us and turn your ideas into valuable assets.

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Michael Jones Michael Jones is the founder and managing member of Jones Intellectual Property, whose mission is to provide his clients with personalized, effective legal solutions. Michael has focused on creating, protecting, and advocating for his clients’ intellectual property rights throughout his career. View Bio