Entrepreneurs and business owners in California might benefit from learning more about what types of things may be protected by patent law. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is responsible for administering and governing patent laws pertaining to inventions and other activities relating to patents. Patent laws state that anyone who discovers or invents a useful process, manufacture, composition of matter or any useful improvement upon the aforementioned may obtain a patent, subject to the requirements and conditions of the law.
Patents may protect new chemical compounds or compositions and manufactured items, as well as technical and industrial processes. Patent laws are designed to apply to subject matter that encompasses nearly everything man-made, as well as the methods used in their creation. Patent law states that the item or process must be useful, meaning that it has both a purpose and is operational enough to fulfill its purpose. Subject matter that does not operate well enough to achieve the intended purpose may not qualify for a patent.
According to the 1954 Atomic Energy Act, inventions with the sole purpose of utilizing atomic energy or nuclear material for making atomic weapons cannot qualify for any patents. In addition, abstract ideas, physical phenomena and the laws of nature may not qualify for patent either. A suggestion or idea cannot qualify for a patent, but only the actual process, manufacture or machine. In order to receive a patent, a full description of the subject matter must be provided with the application.
People who need more information about this form of intellectual property can benefit from working with an attorney who has experience with these matters and who can endeavor to protect an invention by helping to complete the complicated application process in an expeditious manner. Legal counsel may also be able to provide insight for safeguarding the long-term interests of the enterprise as well.
Source: FindLaw, "What May Be Patented?", accessed on Feb. 2, 2015