What Students should know about Patents
A patent is a legal document that secures the owner the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the claimed invention for a period of time. It may also be considered a contract between the inventor and the government in which the inventor agrees to disclose the invention in exchange for certain rights (quid pro quo).
To be patentable the invention must fall within one of the following statutory classes:
To receive a patent the invention must meet the following three criteria:
· Usefulness: Having some practical utility; fit for some desirable, practical or commercial purpose.
Novelty: The concept that the claims must be
totally new. The invention must never have been made public in any way,
anywhere, before the date on which the application for a patent is filed. In
Basic Patent: Since patents for a particular invention may appear at different times in a number of countries, abstracting and indexing services generally have adopted the practice of abstracting only the first patent issued, called the basic patent.
Patent Family: consists of all the equivalent patent applications corresponding to a single invention, covering different geographical regions.
Prior Art: In a broad sense, technology that is relevant to an invention and was publicly available (e.g. described in a publication or offered for sale) at the time an invention was made. In a narrow sense, any such technology which would invalidate a patent or limit its scope. The process of prosecuting a patent or interpreting its claims largely consists of identifying relevant prior art and distinguishing the claimed invention from that prior art.
Kind Codes: The letter, often with a further number, indicating
the level of publication of a patent. Kind Codes are different for each
country. Examples: US Kind Code A:
Granted US Patent (issued prior to
IPC - International Patent Classification: IPC is an internationally recognized classification system, which is controlled by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and assigned to patent documents by Patent Offices. There are 8 sections (A - H) and these sections are further subdivided into classes. Each Class consists of the Section letter, followed by two digits.
· International Patent Classification codes in 5 languages http://www.dagostini.it/patclass/patclass
US Patent Office is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The role of the USPTO is to grant patents for the protection of inventions and to register trademarks. Patent applications publish 18 month from filing date. Patents will have the code US.
a treaty primarily covering only Western European countries, which permits the
applicant to file a single application with the EPO (European Patent Office) in
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) - this treaty facilitates filing of international applications of about 40 member countries. It permits the applicant to file a single international application, which will be equivalent to a national filing in each of the countries designated on the application. The PCT does not grant patents!
The PCT is administrated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO publishes the unexamined application after 18 months, initiates the search report for prior art and then forwards the application and search report to the national offices of the designated countries. Patents will have the code WO.
Japanese Patent Office issues six types of patent documents. Most important are
For each type of these documents the Japanese numbering system uses an annual series and begins each year with document number 1. As a result, in the same year an identical number can be assigned to different inventions that are at different levels of publications. The only exception to this rule is Granted Patent Numbers, which use a continued series at number 2,500,001. Patents will have the code JP.
Glossary of Patent Term
General Patent Information
· Nolo Press http://www.nolo.com/ Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks. Good site to start if you want to know how to file a patent. Also accessible is an Encyclopedia for Patent Law and has links to other On-line patent resources as well as books and software pertaining to Patents.
An extensive list of books
on patents is available from the PIUG Page http://www.piug.org/.
A short list of patent books for Scientists and Engineers is compiled below:
· Patent Strategies for Business, 3rd Edition, Stephen C. Glazier, LBI Law & Business Institute, Waldorf, Maryland, November, 1997.
site to search for most resent patents however it's only a bibliographic
database and search interface is a bit cumbersome. The searchable database
looks for front-page information from
· European Patent Information http://www.european-patent-office.org/espacenet/info/access.htm Searches are based on the bibliographic data in patent documents, using an easy-to-operate search mask, which is not, however, suitable for more complex searches. You can download the full text images as PDF files - page by page only - but they are free!
German site to search US-1973+, EP-1978+, EP-1978+, WO-1978+, WO-1978+, DE-1973+, DD- 1973+, AT-1973+, CH-1973+, FR-1973+, GB-1973+, JP-1973+, Patents and Applications are all in one site and then link to the full text patent. Website is available in English and German. You can download the full text images as PDF files - page by page only - but they are free!
Good site to search US-1790+, WO-97+, EP-97+,
Delphion Intellectual Property Network
(formerly the IBM Patent Server)
Search US Front Page Patents only. All other services are on a subscription basis only.
The bolded database name refers to the STN database name and the italic file number refers to Dialog database name. For more information on the database content refer to the Database Summary Sheets for the STN databases and the Bluesheets for the Dialog Databases.
· Questel Orbit http://www.questel.orbit.com/
Other providers listed at http://www.epo.co.at/online/index.htm#patpro
Other providers listed at http://www.piug.org/vendor.html#bmDocDel
Copyrights - A copyright protects the writings of an author against copying. A copyright is a form of intellectual property right granted by the federal government for "original works of authorship." Includes software, musical scores, books, letters, and web pages. Gives author exclusive right to reproduce, sell, display distribute, or perform their work. It lasts the author's lifetime plus 70 years. For more information please see. http://www.copyright.com/
Trademarks - A trademark is a brand name that appears on packaging (word, name, symbol, or device that identifies a source of goods). Lasts 20 years and is renewable as long as it is in use.
Trade Secret - A trade secret can be any information not known generally in the trade that is used in business to provide an advantage over competitors. Trade secrets never expire as do patents and copyrights, and you don't apply for them. Trade secret rights can be obtained only by developing the information representing the trade secret and maintaining the secrecy of the information. The following types of information have previously been found to qualify as proper trade secret subject matter: 1. customer lists; 2. chemical processes and formulas; 3. algorithms and processes that are implemented in computer programs and the programs themselves; 4. designs, drawings, architectural plans and blueprints; 5. data compilations, business plans and methods of doing business; 6. manufacturing or repair processes and techniques.
Silvia E. Lee, MLIS
Symyx Technologies Inc.
Voice: 408 330 3974
Fax: 408 492 9103