Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Importance of Patents

Imagine a world without patents. There would be little reason for scientists and engineers to pursue new inventions if they were all aware that their new product, medicine or formula would immediately be swept up and copied the second that it hit the market. And even if they did not care about the money that would be lost if there was no way for them to lay legal claim to their product, they would likely still be disheartened by the fact that they would not be able to get credit for an invention that took countless hours away from their lives to invent.

Technically, a patent is "a set of exclusive rights granted by a state or national government to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for a public disclosure of an invention." Some form of the patent exists in most countries but the laws vary greatly. But there are certain things that all inventions must meet in order to receive a patent. These requirements are that the invention must be:

• New-the invention must be completely unique. If a similar thing has been created at some point in the past, then the invention must show a marked improvement on the original invention that makes it basically a different product.
• Inventive-it can not be something obvious. It should be evident that a decent amount of work went into developing the product.
• Useful-there must be some special use that makes the product unique and worth marketing to the public. Patents are meant for useful inventions not just every random thing that has never been created before.
• Industrially applicable-it must be an invention that will benefit and relate to a certain industry. It must be demonstrated or explained when applying for a patent how the invention would fit within the industry it will be marketed towards.

The Different Types of Patents

There are hundreds of different types of patents. Each different kind usually differs based on the what subject the patent entails or what industry it will be used for. A few examples of some of the most common patents include:

• Biological patents
• Business method patents
• Chemical patents
• Software patents

To find out more about patents and your rights if someone steals your patented idea, visit the website of the Iowa personal injury attorneys of LaMarca & Landry, P.C.

Joseph Devine

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