What Can Be Patented? A Complete Guide

What can be patented? Knowing the answer to this question gives you a better chance of protecting your creations. Learn more here.

Patents are the documents that can help protect somebody’s idea. This could be something that makes you rich and you could want the opportunity to earn what is rightfully yours. 

There are over 3.4 million patents filed each year in the United States. 

If you are reading this, you likely have an idea that you want to get patent protection for. However, you may not know exactly what can be patented. 

Well, this guide will break down what the patent requirements are. 

What Is a Patent? 

Before we can get into what can get patented, you have to understand what a patent is. Essentially, this is legal approval by the United States government to protect your idea from being made or sold by somebody else for a certain time. 

What this does is it allows you to be the first one to market. It can also give you more time to work out quirks before you release this idea to the public. 

A patent can give the inventor a major advantage over the competition because as long as they meet time deadlines, they can be the first one to get a valuable idea to the market. From there, they can set the market and control what happens next in that market. 

Patent Requirements 

What does it take to get a patent? Well, one of the biggest requirements that need to be met is that this idea is nearly impossible for anyone else to invent. If the government finds that your idea can be easily mimicked by others, they will likely reject your patent. 

An example of this is if you wanted to file a patent for a simple kid’s toy. This could be a straw and a piece of paper tied together that you could turn into a propeller. To make it more fun, you may glue some fake eyeballs and a fake mouth onto it. 

While nobody else may be currently selling this toy on the market, the government would likely laugh at this patent application because it is something that anybody could make in their own home. 

It also has to meet the legal criteria of being new. In other words, it has to be something that nobody has ever seen before. 

Make sure that your patent meets these requirements and look into what other requirements it needs to meet before applying for one. 

What Can Be Patented? 

The government has patentable subject matter where it discusses what specific items in specific fields are eligible for a patent. Most of the time, this comes down to having a new idea that has a real impact on whatever field it is for. 

An example of this is applying for a patent for a new plant species that you discovered. This is eligible because, in the past, there have been scientific experiments where scientists combined several different types of plant species to see what they could come up with. If one of these results in a new species that makes an impact on society, you could get a patent for this. 

Other examples include new equipment or materials that you can use to make work or a hobby easier. This can include a new fishing rod, a new type of football helmet to minimize concussions, a new computer that specifically helps video editors, new jewelry that others may want to buy, and more. 

The point is that all of the items above are concrete and offer something new to bring to the table in their respective industries. See if your idea is similar to this and if it is, there is a good chance that you can get a patent. 

What Can’t Be Patented? 

You have to understand that not every idea or every resource results in a patent. If that happened, you could end up having people trying to get rich off of relatively simple things. 

So, what can’t be patented? One example is any natural resource that you may discover. The reason why is that it always existed and you just happened to be the one that found it. So, if you find a rare rock or mineral on the ground somewhere, do not expect to get a patent for it. 

Think of other things that already exist as things that would not be eligible for a patent. This includes mathematical formulas, anything that revolves around physical activity, and even scientific formulas. While these formulas and ideas could be new, the concept was always available and based on existing material. 

Then, there are things not eligible for safety reasons. An example could be a surgical method that could save a lot of lives. Because of the implications of this, someone cannot claim exclusive use for it. 

Then, you have things like weapons that would be used for violent crime, technology that could be used for cyber warfare, drugs that are too risky for humans, and more. 

Get Help With a Patent 

These are the basic things that you should know about getting a patent. You must understand the legal definition of a patent along with the requirements for eligibility. Then, you will have a better idea of what can be patented and what can’t be patented. 

Leave things like mathematical and scientific formulas on the drawing board. However, if you have new equipment or new materials to bring to the table, that could be of use. 

For more help getting your idea patented, message us here.

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