Invention owners can apply for patent protection and often rely on patent attorneys to formulate claims and “sue” the patent. Patent applications containing a design, written descriptions, and claims are filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and/or various regional or national patent offices abroad. Patent applications are examined in relation to previous patents and publications, and the examiner responds with an “official action” that (rarely) or (usually) accepts the claims of the application. In the event of rejected claims, the patent attorney, with the assistance of the inventor, responds to the examiner`s arguments, refutes them and/or modifies the claims of the application. To obtain a granted patent, one or more reactions to official acts are usually required. A granted patent expires twenty years after a patent application is filed, and alimony payments to the USPTO are required. If someone manufactures your patented invention abroad and imports it into the United States, you can get an order from the U.S. International Trade Commission prohibiting these imports. The rights conferred by patent law are very different from those granted by copyright. For example, under patent law, it does not matter whether the infringer has independently developed the same invention – all that matters is that the infringer infringes at least one patent claim.

On the other hand, copyright prevents the copying of the expression of ideas. The independent creation of the same print does not constitute copyright infringement, since no duplication has taken place. Moreover, copyright does not protect the ideas themselves, but only the expression. As a result, copyright does not prevent someone from reading about a good idea in a copyrighted work and then using that idea themselves. In countries where the above definition of “prior art” is applied, public disclosure of an invention by an applicant before filing a patent application would prevent him or her from obtaining a valid patent for that invention because the invention would not meet the novelty requirement. However, some countries provide for a grace period – typically between 6 and 12 months – which offers protection to applicants who have disclosed their inventions before filing a patent application. In addition, novelty criteria may be interpreted differently depending on the applicable law. In 2007, the Supreme Court again considered the non-obvious test.

See KSR International Co. v. Teleflex, Inc. (04-1350). In KSR, supra, the Tribunal rejected as too rigid the non-transparency test applied by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal. In the context of the “teaching, suggestion or motivation test” applied by the Federal Circuit, a patent claim was considered obvious only if “a motivation or proposal to combine prior art teachings with prior art, the nature of the problem, or the knowledge of a person with ordinary expertise in the field can be found.” The Court approved a broader and more flexible approach, in which “a court must consider whether the improvement goes beyond the foreseeable use of prior art in relation to their defined functions”. The written description requirement compares the description of the invention contained in the description with the particular features of the invention intended for protection in the claims. A specification may pass the activation test but does not pass the written description test. The basic standard for the written description test is that the applicant must prove that at the time of filing the application he was “in possession” of the invention as subsequently claimed.

Any claim made by the inventor must be supported by the written description in the tender specifications. The purpose of developing patent claims is to make them as broad as the PTO allows. The written requirement has two important limitations: the applicant cannot seek protection for a claim that goes beyond the supporting specification; and if the applicant intends to focus on a specific attribute of the invention in the claims, that attribute must be clearly indicated in the description. A patent holder can license a third party for many reasons. For example, the patent owner may not have the necessary production facilities and therefore choose to allow others to manufacture and sell their patented invention for “royalties.” Alternatively, a patent holder may have production facilities that may not be large enough to meet market demand. In this case, he might be interested in a patent license to another manufacturer to benefit from another source of income. Another possible situation is where the patent owner wants to focus on a geographic market; Therefore, the patent owner may grant a license to another person/organization with interests in other geographic markets.