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What to Consider Before Filing a Patent

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This blog has since been updated with new information

What is eligible for patent protection?

In the U.S., what is known as a "general utility patent" or what most people typically imagine a patent to be, protects the use and function of an invention. Processes, machines, articles of manufacture and compositions of matter are all patent eligible. You cannot get a patent for an abstract idea or something that you discover in nature; you have to have a true physical invention or a process that creates a transformation of some kind in order to be eligible.

When should I be thinking about filing for a patent?

As good as an idea may be, it is not considered an invention until it has been “reduced to practice”  which for most mechanical inventions means creating a working prototype. At that time, you can fill out a patent application for your invention. The prototype requirement is beneficial because if changes are made while in the testing phases, you could ultimately end up filing a patent for something you decide not to do.

One thing to consider before filing for a patent is to do a patent search. You can use the United States Patent and Trademark Office website at uspto.gov to search their database and find out if the invention already exists.

Foster Swift intellectual property attorney Zach Behler sat down with Michigan Business Network's Chris Holman on an episode of Michigan Business Beat podcast to discuss:

  • What kind of inventions are eligible for patent protection?
  • When should I think about filing for a patent application?
  • Is there anything I can do on my own before I call a patent attorney?

Click here to listen to the full interview on 'Patents 101.'

Please note that this recording is for general information purposes and IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. If you seek legal counsel or need help in determining how this information applies to a specific situation, contact a Foster Swift intellectual property attorney before taking any action.

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property

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