The Basics of Patent Law

Patent law is a highly technical area of the law. The US federal district courts have original jurisdiction over patent infringement cases, and their decisions can be appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

To be patentable, an invention must: (1) involve an inventive step, 성범죄전문변호사 and (2) be capable of industrial application. SS 112. It must also: (1) be fully disclosed, and (2) contain one or more claims.

The Inventor’s Rights

A patent gives the inventor the right to exclude others from using their invention for a limited period of time. In return for this monopoly, the inventor must make a full description of how it works publicly available, so that other people can build upon his or her work.

To get a patent, the inventor must have invented something that is new, useful and non-obvious. This is a very high standard, and there are many things that could not be patented because they are simply not useful or inventive enough.

One of the most important aspects of patent law is that it only grants rights to the actual inventors. This means that when working with a team, you must ensure that everyone who has contributed to the conception of the invention is named as an inventor in the patent application. Failure to do this can result in legal action & loss of rights.

It is also important to separate out coinventors where possible. In some cases, it may be necessary to make this distinction in order to determine patentability. For example, the US court decision in Sanofi-Aventis v. Pfizer found that the inventors of a gene sequence were not joint proprietors of the complementary DNA (cDNA) sequence, even though they jointly conceived the invention of how to obtain cDNA from mammalian cells, because their contributions to developing the procedures for expressing and isolating the cDNA did not involve the exercise of inventive skill.

The Public’s Rights

As a property right, patents confer an affirmative right to exclude others from commercially exploiting the invention, but also impose an equal and reciprocal obligation on patent holders to disclose their innovations freely in the public interest. In this respect, the bundle of rights embodied in a patent resembles other intellectual property rights and is subject to the same legal principles that govern them.

In the U.S., courts have gradually shifted the balance in this context to make disclosure more the centerpiece of the patent system, resulting in a rights-centric regime that has blurred the lines between the rights vs. duties construct of the patent system and its targeted objectives.

These trends, which have become increasingly entrenched in recent decades, threaten to undermine innovation by making patents less enforceable, while at the same time increasing the burden on innovators. As this paper explains, administrative agencies have been misusing the concept of “public interest” to justify their interference with patent rights in ways that will diminish innovation.

By focusing too much on what a patent does rather than what it should do, these agencies have overlooked the fact that a properly structured patent grants a valuable benefit to the public. This paper argues that patents have the potential to expand people’s options and well being by giving inventors the opportunity to create companies and sell their innovations in the marketplace, as Cyrus McCormick did when he introduced installment-purchase plans for his mechanized reaper to farmers or Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak did with Apple Computer.

The Inventor’s Licensing Rights

Once an inventor is granted a patent, he or she has the exclusive right to make, use, sell, or import the invention. The scope of that right is determined by the claims found in the issued patent. If another person or corporation is found to be using a patented invention without permission, the inventor may file a patent infringement lawsuit against them.

If more than one person holds a patent for the same invention, the laws of the country in question determine whether each proprietor can exploit the patent independently or must enter into a licensing agreement. Inventors can also choose to assign their patent rights to a company that could then market the invention on behalf of all the inventors.

Patent law has evolved over time, and some nations’ laws vary from those of others. The World Intellectual Property Organization is working toward international harmonization of patent laws.

An important limitation on patent rights is that once the patented product is sold in the marketplace, it becomes part of the public domain and can be used by anyone. This provision reflects the fact that an inventor’s objective in creating his or her invention is fulfilled once the invention is made available for sale to the general public. This provision is a key reason why inventors typically want to assign their patents to a corporation before selling them, so that the corporation can commercialize the invention.

The Public’s Licensing Rights

The patent owner has the right to exclude others from making, using or selling patented inventions. However, the inventor or his successors or assignees can also give others a license to practice the invention in exchange for financial compensation (i.e., a royalty).

The law on patents differs by country and sometimes by agreement between the joint proprietors of the patent. For example, some countries allow joint proprietors to freely license or assign their rights in a patent while others require the express consent of the other co-owner(s) before any such action can take place.

A growing trend is for nations to harmonize their patent laws through the World Intellectual Property Organization. This includes the TRIPS agreement and related agreements that ensure conformity with global standards in this area. The resulting international frameworks help businesses with operations in multiple nations to avoid a proliferation of different patent law standards.

In the US, a number of recent patent law developments have changed the way that business conducts business. For example, in Octane Fitness v. ICON Health & Fitness, the SCOTUS established that patent trolls are generally liable for attorney fees when they initiate and lose frivolous lawsuits. This has led to a reduction in the number of these types of suits filed. Additionally, in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, the SCOTUS limited patentability of inventions based on newly-discovered natural phenomena but stopped short of banning these patents entirely.