How do I know if my idea is patentable?

How do I know if my idea is patentable?

For an invention to be eligible for patent protection, it must fulfill certain criteria. The invention must fit into a patentable category. The invention must also be new, non-obvious, and useful.

The patentable categories include any type of technology. The categories of inventions that can qualify for a utility patent include:

  • Hi-Tech, including hardware, software and electronics

  • Material compositions such as combinations of chemicals, foods, and living organisms

  • Machines, which can be as simple as an umbrella or as complex as a robot

  • Life science technology, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, proteins, and more

To determine whether your invention may qualify for a patent, ask the following questions:

  • Does the invention fall into a patentable category? If your invention doesn’t relate to some type of technology as described above, it won’t qualify for a patent.

  • Is the invention new? To be eligible for a patent, your invention must be different than anything else that is currently sold to the public, written or published, or patented. You may want to hire a patent agent to conduct a prior art search.

  • Is the invention non-obvious? That is, does it have a “wow” factor? The patent office will compare your invention to what is already known, to decide whether it is really inventive.

  • Does the invention have utility? If your invention doesn't have a specific use (i.e the invention is abstract), it cannot be patented.

If you need help determining if your invention is patentable, please feel free to contact us.


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