Utility patents are the most common and have the greatest breadth of protection. First, the general requirements of a patent require an invention of patentable subject matter.
Patentable Subject Matter means that the invention must be:
- a process or method for producing a useful, concrete and tangible result (such as a computer engineering procedure, a marketing strategy or a process for conducting e-commerce on the Internet.)
- a machine (usually something with moving parts or circuitry, such as an engine, manufacturing system, or printer)
- an article of manufacture (such as a pencil, plastic container, transistor or tool)
- a composition of matter (such as a chemical composition, drug, soap or genetically altered life form), or
- an improvement of an invention that fits within one of the first four categories.
The remaining requirements of a Utility patent include that the invention be:
- Novel (different from all previous inventions in some important way); and
- Non-obvious (not obvious to a person who is familiar with the subject matter of the invention).
In addition, the invention must not have been abandoned or publicly disclosed more than a year prior to the date of the patent application. Because public disclosure has been broadly defined, we suggest contacting one of our patent attorneys as soon as possible to avoid abandoning your patent rights.