Some California business owners may be unaware that the business methods they employ may be patented. Although there used to be an exception preventing patenting business plans, a 1998 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals did away with it.
Individuals or businesses that have created a product may wish to file for patent protection on their inventions. A patent allows the creator of a product exclusive rights to make money from the exploitation of that intellectual property. While it may not be possible to get full patent protection on every idea, having even partial protection may be worthwhile when trying to attract investors.
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.
California’s own Tesla Motors made headlines across the nation recently when it announced its decision to “open source” its patented technology in an effort to make electric cars more widely available within a shorter time frame. The company promised not to initiate patent lawsuits against others who used their designs in good faith.