Unsurprisingly, and given its subject matter, many people find patent law to be esoteric and highly complex. It relates to inventions, complicated processes, genetic material, computer software and technological innovation across every spectrum imaginable.
Given that, states a writer in an online overview of the patent process, “patentability requirements are frequently misunderstood.”
The stakes in this legal area are high, and understanding is vital, for many reasons.
For starters, both genius and diligent application are often combined catalysts underlying new inventions. Creators work hard, spending significant amounts of time, effort and often money to push through known barriers and expand the world through new applications.
Thus, they have a right to legal protection against usurpers who would seek to borrow from or steal outright their ideas.
Additionally, of course, having a strong patent system in place instills in creators the requisite confidence to pursue their ideas and goals.
Put in an inverse way, that means this: A weak patent system that does not provide a creator with adequate legal protection discourages innovation generally, which in turn dampens globally the impetus of creators to continue working to expand and improve our world.
Accordingly, there is a system in place to recognize and protect inventions.
Does that system grant protection to all new inventions?
The answer to that question is a flat negative. In fact, there are a number of specified requirements that must be satisfied -- hurdles that must be cleared -- before the United States Patent and Trademark Office will grant an inventor patent rights following an application for recognition and protection.
We will examine those in some detail in our next blog post.