757 PLI/Pat 9
FOR EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY
757 PLI/Pat 9
(Cite as: 757 PLI/Pat 9)
Inventions are the motor which has driven our society from its rural agrarian roots to an industrial marvel. The writers of the
Constitution recognized this when they gave Congress the power to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by
securing for limited times to authors and
right to their respective
Congress used its power and
enacted the Patent Act which enumerated the protections which accrue to the holder of a
patent, as well as the requirements for attaining a patent. The Founding Fathers and Congress reasoned that allowing the
inventor to profit from his invention would provide an added stimulus or impetus to creativity.
Where can I find information on patent laws and procedures?
The Patent Act is codified at
35 U.S.C. ß ß
. Rules relating to patents may be found in Title 37 of the CFR and the
United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) Manual of Patent Examining Procedure contains useful information.
The USPTO website at www.uspto.gov provides not only information on patents and the application procedure but provides
for online filing of applications.
What is a patent?
A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, for a limited period of time, issued by the Patent
and Trademark Office.
There are three types of patents:
may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of
manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof;
may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of
may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of
What is the duration of patent protection?
Utility and Plant Patents - 20 years from the filing of the application (for patents prior to 1995 the term was a 17 year period
years from the date of grant
What rights accrue to the holder of a patent?
The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, "the right to exclude others
from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the invention in the United States or "importing" the invention into the
United States. What is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from
making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention.
Can a patent holder transfer these rights?
A patent is personal property and may be sold to others or mortgaged; it may be bequeathed by a will, and it may pass to the
heirs of a deceased patentee. The owner of a patent may grant licenses to others. Since the patentee has the right to exclude
others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling or importing the invention, no one else may do any of these things