Join Dana Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video What is a patent?, part of Intellectual Property Fundamentals.
What is a patent? A patent is a type of intellectual property that traditionally covered utilitarian machines and processes. It would have covered the cotton gin. It would have covered certain printing technologies. Nowadays, patents actually are used to cover pharmaceuticals, software, methods of doing things, processes, and a variety of consumer products. In order to be entitled to a patent, the thing, the idea has to be patentable.
Well, what does it mean to be patentable? It means that it has to be something that has never been done before. We call this novel. Patents have to be novel. Otherwise, why should we protect them? Why should we give you any special rights if it's already been done? We want to incentivize people to develop completely new ideas, so patentability requires novelty. It also requires utility. It needs to do something, and you need to be able to describe how to do that thing. It also has to be non-obvious. This is a little bit like novelty.
It needs to not be something that people who are skilled in the art would believe is obvious for them to do, or to try. Novelty, utility, non-obviousness. And it must not be subject to what we call a statutory bar. Typically, this means that it isn't something that you have already publicly displayed or published and made known to people more than a year in the past. What does a patent look like, and, and what does it give you? What do you get from a patent? Well, a patent is a document that you file with the Patent Office.
And it includes a variety of components. It includes a description of what you claim is your patent. It includes some drawings. It may include some background. And then, it includes a section that we call claims. These are numbered paragraphs that claim something specific that you believe you're entitled to patent. The claims are actually the patents. If you have 20 claims that are issued, then even in one patent registration, you may have 20 patents.
Each one is independently protectible, and you can sue for infringement of just one claim within your patent. What does a patent get you? It gets you a 20-year monopoly for the thing that's listed in your claims. If you have identified a process or a device then for 20 years, you have the right to stop other people from doing the same thing. So, you don't get anything magically by obtaining a patent. Many people have filed patents, obtained patents, and can't do anything with them.
You either need to monetize the patent yourself, or you need to license the patent to someone else. Or in some cases, sue people for infringement. Ultimately, what a patent gets you is the right to stop other people from using what you've patented. It's a private right for you to sue third parties for infringement. You can certainly practice your invention. You can authorize others through licensing to use your invention, and you can receive a royalty for that. Or you can sue people for infringing your patent. But it's a private right that you get for the life of the patent to sue other people to stop them from infringing your patent.
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DISCLAIMER: This course is taught by an attorney and addresses US law concepts that may not apply in all countries. Neither LInkedIn nor the attorney teaching the course represents you and they are not giving legal advice. The information conveyed through this course is akin to a college or law school course; it is not intended to give legal advice, but instead to communicate basic information to help viewers understand the basics of intellectual property.
- What is intellectual property?
- What is a copyright?
- How long do copyrights last?
- Trademarking your brand
- Trademark infringement
- Patenting your ideas
- Defending trade secrets<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.