Patentability - a frequent question of first time patent applicants is "Can this kind of thing be patented?. After my little speech that you can only patent inventions, not ideas, I then move into a discussion of how we may have to do a prior art search to see if it is patentable.
But there are a box full of things that are often hard to patent because they have been defined as things that are just too obvious. These need to be understood even before doing a patent search.
Would you like to know what some of these are?
To get into this we will have to review a number of cases that have been hashed out in court. This is where many of these guidelines come from. Don't worry - I will not cite all of the court rulings by name - because you would quickly forget them in any case. We will just talk about the results.
These fall into several major categories. They are things that:
Eliminate a step or its function.
Automate a manual activity.
Change a size or shape.
Make something portable, integral, separable, adjustable, or continuous.
Reverse, duplicate, or re-arrange parts.
Purify an old product.
Important - - these things are not hard rules - but guidelines. I have had examiners reject claims because of one of these guidelines and was able to overcome the objection. But it was not easy.
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Mike Ervin - Cost Effective Small Business Patent Protection.
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