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What if an Invention has Multiple Inventors

What if an Invention has Multiple Inventors

As a form of intellectual property rights, invention patents may raise some particularly thorny legal questions and ambiguities, due to the nature of the creations they cover being functional and practical rather than aesthetic and creative, as is often the case with copyright, or strictly commercial, as with trademarks. Two novels which shared very similar vocabularies and themes would not for that reason alone constitute an intellectual property right violation, whereas the specific methods by which patented inventions must be closely examined. 

The depth of knowledge involved in making valid considerations on whether to patent inventions requires expertise from the presiding officials. The level of expertise required of the inventor often means that invention patents are issued for the work of more than one person. In Title 35 of the United States Code, the question of how to patent inventions with multiple inventors is addressed by Section 116.

The basic provision made by Section 116 is that inventors must patent inventions “jointly,” first making the invention patent together and later each making the required oath. Specific issues of “fairness,” as may arise as grievances between co-creators, are not addressed by Section 116, which makes clear that joint invention patents do not refer to and do not require equal amounts of contribution or actual, side-by-side collaboration. The different sections of a patent claim also do not have to involve every inventor. 

The complexity involved in recognizing a device or process aimed at some practical purpose as a unique intellectual and technical creation may mean that the joint inventors responsible for its creation came from widely divergent fields of expertise and contributed to the invention in vastly different ways. Both tasks related to invention may be considered valid for joint authorship.

Section 116 provides strong measures to encourage that multiple authors patent inventions together. It allows for the possibility that a joint inventor may opt not to receive the patent rights which would normally be his or her due. If joint inventors cannot be located when the time comes for filing to patent inventions and have not made provisions for his or her wishes, the co-authors of the invention patents must be able to demonstrate to the United States Patent and Trademark Office 

Conditions for Patentability

Conditions for Patentability

United States patent law is administered under Article 35 of the United States Code, which is also referred to as the Patent Act. In this larger body of decisions, Sections 100-105 set out the requirements which intellectual discoveries and developments satisfy in order to be considered to fall within the bounds of patentability. According to the language of Section 101, patentability will be considered to exist for the purposes of American patent law in “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.” 
The general stipulations for the patentability of a purported invention are defined by Article 35 as utility, non-obviousness, and novelty. Section 100 of Article 35 deals with “Definitions,” providing a basic understanding of the language used elsewhere to define patent law. Section 101 refers to “Inventions patentable,” Section 102 to “Conditions for patentability; novelty and loss of right to patent;” and Section 103 to “Conditions for patentability; non-obvious subject matter.” Less immediately or probably relevant to the needs of applicants under United States patent law are Sections 104, “Inventions made abroad,” and Section 105, “Inventions in outer space.”
The requirement for utility, found in Section 101’s reference to a “useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter,” can be understood to comprise two related conditions for patentability. The first is that the subject of a patent have an intended purpose and effect novelty United States Patent and Trademark Office. 

Conditions for Patentability Non-Obvious

Conditions for Patentability Non-Obvious

Article 35 of the United States Code contains regulations and provisions for governing the process through which the “patentability” of proposed inventions are determined by the relevant government body, in most cases the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Within that area of the Code, Sections 100 to 105 deal specifically with the requirements which a process or device must manifest in order to be considered to fall within patentability. For instance, Section 102 requires “novelty,” or the newness of the technology being submitted to the Patent Office’s consideration, specifically in terms of its dissemination in the public eye and availability for the public’s use. 
Section 101, containing the definition for the main kind of patent considered for the purposes of American law and commerce, contains an important standard in that language, that the patent refer to something which is “useful.” After those basic and fairly intuitive considerations have been made, the patent applicant has the more nuanced and potentially difficult task of proving patentability by showing that the invention is “non-obvious.”
Essentially, this term refers to the requirement that a patent cannot have been too easy to concoct. If not on the books, a non-obvious provision might not be able to stand in the way of applicants successfully patenting very simple and intuitive forms of mechanical functioning. Beyond that simplified sense of the non-obvious requirement, a degree of ambiguity can be raised in regard to the relation of a procedure or device being sought for patentability in relation to previous techniques relying on similar methods or tools.
In the process of making judgments on the patentability of devices or processes under consideration, the United States Patent and Trademark Office compares the article to any  predecessors that can be found in its method of functioning or aimed-at goal. These predecessors, called the “prior arts,” must be sufficiently different from the new technology in order for it be considered non-obvious. Another consideration to be made, one with greater latitude for ambiguity and potential conflict, is whether the new technology could have been devised by an individual “of ordinary skill in the art.” 
Because of the subjective foundation of the language describing a non-obvious patented invention, examinations by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to figure out whether an invention can be considered to manifest this quality must be particularly thorough. If every attribute of the process or device can be found in a prior art, then it will be found lacking in sufficient patentability. Likewise, if the Patent Office can determine that the new technology is essentially a combined version of two prior arts, it will be rejected. That being said, findings that a patent is non-obvious proceeding from this reasoning may often be challenged because of their  more tenuous nature.

Conditions for Patentability Novelty

Conditions for Patentability Novelty

The question of which new ideas for devices and functions can be considered to fall within the bounds of patentability for the purposes of United States law is provided for the U.S. Patent Act, which can be found in Article 35 of the body of federal law known as the United States Code. 
In this article, the Sections numbered from 100 to 105 supply the conditions under which a concept may be proved to be the new creation of its inventor and accordingly receive intellectual property protection rights. Among these conditions for patentability, an important part is played by “novelty,” as it is termed by the language used. 
“Novelty” in this sense refers not to the interest aroused by something original but simply to the newness of the invention. The novelty requirement can be found in Section 102 of Article 35.
The definition of novelty contained by the United States Code for the purpose of proving patentability allows for enough ambiguity to occasionally require complex judgments on interpretations and facts. A clear-cut example of a case which will not satisfy patentability is one in which the idea can be established to have been public knowledge before the application was made. 
Another means by which an invention may be made public and thus ineligible for patentability is some account of the idea being published more than a year before the registration for its patent is filed. The third condition under which the novelty of an invention will be automatically discounted is one in which it was made commercially available or publicly put to use more than a year before patent registration was applied for. 
By these examples, novelty as is applicable for a finding of patentability can generally be defined as the period of a year. Inventors who wait for longer than a year, then, after initiating public use or discussion of the new invention can expect to see the invention lapse into a status equivalent to copyright law’s public domain, opening up the invention to use by others. Even a casual reference to the desired object of patentability may be understood as the start of the one-year grace period if it occurs in some kind of public context. 
For this reason, even casual discussions of the fully developed invention should not be made by the inventor unless the listeners sign confidentiality agreements, not of mistrust of the audience, but out of the need to show that an invention has yet to be publicly disseminated.
Among the various issues which United States patent attorneys are trained to deal with, the requirement for novelty in patent applications is one which the legal representatives for a patent applicant should be prepared to handle. Among the main issues which arise from this section of patent law, it is important to note that United States patent law is unusually generous in allowing for a grace period as long as one year. 
Many other countries require the immediate filing of applications, often necessitating that applications be filed in those countries as soon as the invention is publicly discussed.

Conditions for Patentability Subject Matter

Conditions for Patentability Subject Matter

In leaving patentability up to the question of utility, American patent law is relatively unusual, in that European patent law does not refer to general usefulness, but rather to the industrial applicability of the technology. Despite this difference, the distinction between the kinds of subject matter falling within the bounds of patentability established in the two regions are generally not very different. The main body of American patent law is addressed toward inventions which can be issued utility plant design.
Due to controversies that have occasionally arisen over the kind of uses which may be allowed for by Section 101, in the early 21st century the USPTO has released statements restating its opinion that certain kinds of products of human creativity and expertise, which include transmitted energy, literature, music, paper documentation on law, and collections of information do not meet the conditions for patentability. It has also welcomed further discussions of the patentability of these forms of human creativity. Transmitted forms of energy have been excluded by American patent law for the specific reason that they are not physically manifest and thus lie outside the proper bounds of the USPTO.
Section 103 of Article 35 also contains provisions on the kinds of subject matter that may be administered by United States patent law. According to the language of this section, subject matter must be “non-obvious” and not readily graspable by individuals “of ordinary art” in the subject matter to constitute original creations.

Usefulness

Usefulness

Article 35 of the United States Code contains the federal statutes which govern the rules and procedures applying to patent law.
The usefulness generally inherent in the definition of patentability can be understood in two senses, though they are related to each other. The first is that the device or process for which patenting is sought is aimed at some kind of rational and allowable end. A patent is primarily understood as a significantly original means for arriving at a rational end. 
The second is that the patent possess the demonstrable ability to arrive at that end, or that it be operative. This requirement might be most easily tested through the application of common sense, and more rigorously with regard to the specific conception of the patent’s functioning.
The patentability requirement for successful performance of a useful function is only present in, and for that matter is inherent in, the specific category of patent law addressed to so-called utility patentsplant patents 

How to Patent

How to PatentThe United States Patent
and Trademark Office
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Importance of Registering a Patent

Importance of Registering a Patent

The process of patent registration as it is practiced under United States law is geared toward securing intellectual property rights for the creators of original ideas for devices and processes. Successfully applying for a patent enables the holder to pursue legal action against others who improperly make use of the patented idea or claim it as their own. 
In addition to protecting against the malicious abuse of intellectual property rights, patent registration also ensures that an original idea will appear in a thorough patent search and thereby prevent the original author from being preempted by others with the same idea.
United States law conceives of patent registration in negative terms. That is to say, a patent holder is not so much, under the literal wording of the law, empowered to make use of a patented idea as to prevent others from making use of it. This concept of patent registration proceeds from the principle that American law does not in general require that sellers of a particular good have a special grant from the government to do so. 
Rights in relation to a commercial good such as an invention are conceived instead in relation to the rights which other people have toward the invention. In this conception of patent rights, the patent holder must give permission to others to use an invention, commonly through a patent license agreement. If the patent holder feels that this right is being violated by others, he or she has the power to file suit in a Federal court. Possible courses of action in response to patent infringement include asking the courts to issue an injunction against the infringing action and requesting that damages be paid by the person committing the infringement. 
At this point, the patent registration procedures observed by the plaintiff will be particularly relevant, as court determine instances of infringement in reference to the language used in the patent itself, as opposed to visual or performance comparisons of examples of the patent in physical use.
In addition to providing for legal recourse against intellectual property thieves, the patent registration process is also designed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to prevent patent applicants acting in good faith from conflicting with each others’ intellectual property claims. 
The USPTO offers prospective applicants a patent search function in order to either determine that their finished discovery is indeed original and bears no significant resemblances to preexisting discoveries, or to find a promising direction for the beginning of the invention process. 
The agency provides the USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database for patent search inquiries. Patents registered after 1976 are maintained in the Database in a “full text” format, which may be accessed by a “quick,” “advanced,” or number-based patent search. For a patent search conducted from 1790, when federal intellectual property protection first went into practice, to the present, information can be accessed as images in a TIFF format.

Accelerated Examination of Patents

Accelerated Examination of Patents

The process of patenting a new idea for a device or process in the United States can be an involved and procedurally difficult task. In order to ensure that the rights of a creator are being properly granted to the patent applicant, the responsible agency, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), examines the newness, functionality, and “non-obvious” relation of the invention to previously patented discoveries. 
This level of caution is essentially intended to ensure that both society and the inventor can benefit from the patent. As the agency itself admits, its procedures for patenting inventions are not consistent in the amount of time they require, but will generally take up at least a year. If any legal issues are brought up by the examination process, registration of a patent may well require several years to be either fully effected or rejected. 
The USPTO also allows for the possibility that it may be urgent for the patenting of certain inventions to be expedited. For this purpose, applicants can apply for their invention to come under the heading of the accelerated examination program for patenting. Causes that may be accepted by the USPTO as meriting coverage under the accelerated examination program may stem either from considerations due to the applicant or from the greater good to come from the patenting of the invention.
The USPTO will extend the benefits of the accelerated examination program to patents which are found to have a significant and demonstrable link to maintaining human safety or life. Such concerns may arise in connection to universal human well-being or to the more specific concerns for the safety of American citizens and security of the United States. 
Patents which relate to the health of the environment, as may be threatened by human polluting activities, or of human beings, as may stem from significant concerns such as HIV/AIDS or cancer, are likely to be applicable for the accelerated examination program. Another applicable issue is that of patents relating to anti-terrorist measures, which the USPTO will grant both for general humanitarian reasons and for the purpose of serving the specific interests of the United States. 
A prospective patent registrar might apply for the accelerated examination program if there was a tangible reason to think that his or her health might not last for too much longer beyond the normal patenting process, based either on existing problems or on advanced age.
On August 25, 2006, alterations made by the USPTO to the accelerated examination program for patenting took effect. These allowed for applications for patenting to be taken out of the line of patents being considered according to date of application and ruled on by the USPTO ahead of time. 
This change would affect patents with widely based societal significance, but not those based on the health or age of the patent applicant. According to statistics offered by the USPTO, about 60% of the applications it receives for the accelerated examination program are accepted.

Read This Before Paying Patent Fees!

Read This Before Paying Patent Fees!The registration of patents in the United States,
which is administered by the United States Patent
and Trademark Office
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The latter category applies also to the patent costs incurred by a filing made
at a later time for the reissuing of patent rights, which for a utility patent
will again amount to the initial patent costs of $690. Disclaimers made during
the process cost $110. Appeals made during the process to alter a decision cost
$300, and briefs in the support of the appeal another $300 each. In-person
appearances before the appeals board cost $260.

Reviving a patent application after a period of time in which it had been
abandoned costs $1,210, as will cases in which the fee for issuance had gone
unfulfilled or a response was not made to the USPTO in reference to the need
for further questioning. If the case can be found to fall under the heading of
Sections 133 or 151 of Article 35 of the United States Code, then these patent
fees will be greatly reduced, to only $110. Petitions for additional months to
fulfill USPTO requirements cost, in sequence of requests made and month-long
extensions received, $110, $270, and $490.

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