Useful Sources for Successful Research: Beyond Google

General Information About US Patents

Patents are granted to the inventor or discoverer of:

  • New and useful (utility patent) process, machine, item manufactured or a composition of matter
  • New, original, and ornamental (design patent) design for an item manufactured
  • New and distinct variety of plant (plant patent)

In order to get the patent, the inventor MUST disclose complete information about the process, design, or plant. The patent will be granted if the patent application shows:

  • Novelty -- no one else is doing it, knows about it, has written about it, or is manufacturing it.
  • Non-obviousness -- a general practioner in the field would look at it and see that it is truly different and not the next step
  • Utility -- it has to have some use, even the most trivial use will often work.

A patent give you the right to:

  • Decide who may use the patented invention.
  • Come to an agreement with other parties so that they have permission to use the invention.
  • Sell the right to the invention to someone else.

Obtaining a US Patent for Your Idea