Who are patent engineers?
Patent engineers are law professionals who assist in the preparation of patent filings. Patent attorneys often have a group of Patent Engineers on staff. Many Patent Engineers have technical degrees.
www. Patent Engineers .com

How to patent an idea, and profit from your invention
Patent an invention
Find Patent Attorneys
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    Topic  
    Index  
   
01 Profiting from your inventions 101 (How to file a patent)
the patent process
02 What is an invention?
novelty, patentable subject matter
03 How do patents protect your rights to an invention?
rights, enforcement
04 Why use an Inventor's Logbook
why it is important to keep one
05 How to keep an Inventor's Logbook
guidelines and tips
06 Copyrights, trademarks and patents.
is one better than the other
07 What does a patent look like?
embodiments, claims etc.
08 Which countries should I file my patent in?
usually in more than one country
09 How much time and money to file in?
legal fees, time taken
10 How do I collect royalties off my patents?
enforcement
11 Search for prior art
resources and databases
12 Your responsibilities
and your attorney's responsibilities
A Case study: a patent (part 1)
a patent dissected
B Case study: a patent (part 2)
a patent dissected
C 10 Simple Inventions
used all over the world!
D Tips for Inventors
pitfalls and hints
E How to Invent
(Anyone can be an inventor!)

how to start inventing
F The patent process
the formal patent process
   
       
 
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What is an invention?

An invention is anything that has some degree of novelty. It can be a thing (such as a trigger mechanism), a process (such as a process for treating water), or even a technique (way to extract compounds from a mushroom, or a way of treating metal to increase its strength).

For something to be considered an invention, it must contain an element of novelty. This means there must be something substantial that has not been done before (prior art), or there must be some knowledge that is new to humanity. Some inventions are groundbreaking, such as a way to deliver drug molecules past the blood-brain barrier. Others may be less dramatic; for example a way to clean cars using an industrial pressure cleaning system combined with a new detergent to prevent damage to car paint. That this is considered an invention is often a surprise to new inventors. Many people are not aware that new uses of known techniques applied to obtain a new effect is also considered an invention!

Another category of inventions are design inventions. For example, a new way of folding a laptop keyboard, or a design for an orange peeler.

However, some things are in general, not considered inventions for patent purposes. Discoveries of laws of nature are generally not considered inventions.For example, you generally cannot patent a mathematical equation, because it is considered merely a discovery of a mathematical truth. However, you should be aware that there is no global consensus on what is considered a patentable invention and what is not.

For example, for a long time, software was thought to be unpatentable, because of its mathematical nature. However, this was later found to be untrue as software increasingly became accepted as patentable matter in the United States.

There is some controversy today about whether things like business methods, genes and artificially engineered DNA sequences can be considered inventions. Many companies have simply taken a "patent first, worry about it later" approach while the legal community works things out. If you are working on an invention in these areas, it may be worthwhile to consult a patent attorney to understand the legal situation. The important thing is to be aware that there is no universal consensus, and what may be patentable in the United States for example, may not be patentable in other countries and vice versa. There is an excellent Wikipedia entry on patentable subject matter (external site) that provides more details.



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Copyright © 2008 Wei-lung Wang All rights reserved.
Email: wang@patentengineers.com.