Patent Law 101


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The basics of U.S. Patent Law

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Patent Law 101

  1. 1. Patent Law 101 By Steve Ritchey
  2. 2. What is a Patent?
  3. 3. What is a Patent? <ul><li>A Patent is a Negative Right to exclude others from making, using, selling, importing, offering for sale the claimed invention. </li></ul><ul><li>Caveat on the right to exclude: In the EBay case, the US Supreme Court said an injunction against an infringer is not automatic. </li></ul><ul><li>Patent is not a Positive Right for the patentee to make, use, or sell the invention. </li></ul>
  4. 5. Where is a Patent Valid <ul><li>Country by Country </li></ul><ul><li>European countries can be accessed by EPO </li></ul><ul><li>Paris Convention </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Applications filed within 1 year of priority filing get the benefit of that date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ex-US filing on 1/2/2008 effectively have date of 1/2/2007 filing date of US application </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>PCT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Delays foreign filing decision by 30 months </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unofficial search/examination made </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National filings must be made at 30 months </li></ul></ul>
  5. 6. Requirements to Obtain a Patent <ul><li>New </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 year grace period in US only </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Absolute novelty in most countries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Practice Tip- File US or PCT application before publication, then file ex-US within 1 year to obtain Paris Convention benefit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Useful </li></ul><ul><li>Not Obvious </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Applicant must disclose prior art it knows. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 7. Requirements to Obtain a Patent <ul><li>Enablement/Written Description Requirement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teach one of ordinary skill in the art how to make and use the invention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Illustrate that inventor was in possession of the invention at the time of filing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot add new matter later </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Best Mode </li></ul>
  7. 8. Novelty <ul><li>Statutory Bar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Public Use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On Sale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any of the above more than 1 year prior to filing bars patentability </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. Not Obvious <ul><li>Supreme Court’s KSR Decision Adds to Difficulty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compare claimed invention to prior art </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are differences obvious to one skilled in the art </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can be overcome with data showing unexpected superiority, commercial success and the like </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Types of Patents/Applications <ul><li>Utility, Design, Plant Patents </li></ul><ul><li>Provisional Applications </li></ul><ul><li>Regular Applications </li></ul><ul><li>Continuation Applications </li></ul><ul><li>Continuation-in-part Applications (CIP) </li></ul><ul><li>Divisional Applications </li></ul><ul><li>Request for Continued Examination (RCE) </li></ul>
  10. 11. Divisional Applications <ul><li>Divisional Applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>USPTO allows only 1 invention per patent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If application includes claims to 2 or more patentably distinct inventions PTO requires restriction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Divisional application covers the non-elected invention </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. Continuation/CIP Application <ul><li>Covers patentably indistinct embodiments of invention not obtainable during prosecution of parent application </li></ul><ul><li>Filed to obtain both broader and narrower protection than was obtained during prosecution of parent </li></ul><ul><li>Filed to provide newly developed data and/or arguments for patentability </li></ul><ul><li>CIP contains matter common to parent and additional new matter </li></ul>
  12. 13. Provisional Application <ul><li>Not Examined </li></ul><ul><li>Provides Filing Date if: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provisional application complies with disclosure requirements, including teaching one of ordinary skill in the art how to make and use the invention and Best Mode; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Non-provisional application is filed within 1 year of filing the provisional application. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. RCE <ul><li>Used to overcome a Final Rejection </li></ul>
  14. 15. Patent Structure <ul><li>Specification </li></ul><ul><li>Drawings </li></ul><ul><li>Claims </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Claims define the invention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If it’s not claimed it’s not patented </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple claims included </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Claims to product, process, composition, apparatus, method of use </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Broad to narrow </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Protection for specific invention and alternatives </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Protection against prior art of which the inventor is not aware </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>