HOME
TheInfoList



NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a
title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted between the firs ...
that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an
invention An invention is a unique or novel device, method, composition or process. The invention process is a process within an overall engineering and product development process. It may be an improvement upon a machine or product or a new process for ...
for a limited period of years in exchange for publishing an enabling public disclosure of the invention. In most countries, patent rights fall under
private law#REDIRECT Private law#REDIRECT Private law {{R from other capitalization ...
{{R from other capitalization ...
and the patent holder must sue someone infringing the patent in order to enforce his or her rights. In some industries patents are an essential form of
competitive advantage In business, a competitive advantage is the attribute that allows an organization to outperform its competitors. A competitive advantage may include access to natural resources, such as high-grade ores or a low-cost power source, highly skilled ...
; in others they are irrelevant.WIPO Intellectual Property Handbook: Policy, Law and Use. Chapter 2: Fields of Intellectual Property Protection
WIPO 2008
The procedure for granting patents, requirements placed on the patentee, and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements. Typically, however, a patent application must include one or more
claims Claim may refer to: * Claim (legal) * Claim of Right Act 1689 * Claims-based identity * Claim (philosophy) * Land claim * A ''main contention'', see conclusion of law * Patent claim * The assertion of a proposition; see Douglas N. Walton * A right ...
that define the scope of protection that is being sought. A patent may include many claims, each of which defines a specific property right. These claims must meet various
patentability Within the context of a national or multilateral body of law, an invention is patentable if it meets the relevant legal conditions to be granted a patent. By extension, patentability also refers to the substantive conditions that must be met for a p ...
requirements, which in the US include
novelty Novelty (derived from Latin word novus for "new") is the quality of being new, or following from that, of being striking, original or unusual. Novelty may be the shared experience of a new cultural phenomenon or the subjective perception of an indiv ...
,
usefulness Within economics, the concept of utility is used to model worth or value. Its usage has evolved significantly over time. The term was introduced initially as a measure of pleasure or happiness within the theory of utilitarianism by moral philosop ...
, and
non-obviousness The inventive step and non-obviousness reflect a general patentability requirement present in most patent laws, according to which an invention should be sufficiently inventive—i.e., non-obvious—in order to be patented. In other words, "henonob ...
. Under the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. It officially commenced operations on 1 January 1995, pursuant to the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, thus rep ...
's (WTO)
TRIPS Agreement The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It establishes minimum standards for the regulation by natio ...
, patents should be available in WTO member states for any invention, in all fields of
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , ''-logia'') is the sum of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectiv ...
, provided they are new, involve an inventive step, and are capable of industrial application. Nevertheless, there are variations on what is
patentable subject matter Patentable, statutory or patent-eligible subject matter is subject matter which is susceptible of patent protection. The laws or patent practices of many countries provide that certain subject-matter is excluded from patentability, even if the inven ...
from country to country, also among WTO member states. TRIPS also provides that the term of protection available should be a minimum of twenty years.


Definition

The word ''patent'' originates from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language ...
''patere'', which means "to lay open" (i.e., to make available for public inspection). It is a shortened version of the term ''
letters patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy in 1768">Nancy, France">Nancy in 1768 Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) (always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a mon ...
'', which was an open document or instrument issued by a monarch or government granting exclusive rights to a person, predating the modern patent system. Similar grants included
land patent A land patent is a form of letters patent assigning official ownership of a particular tract of land which has gone through various legally proscribed processes – such as surveying and documentation, followed by the letters signing, sealing, ...
s, which were land grants by early state governments in the US, and
printing patentThe printing patent or printing privilege was a precursor of modern copyright. It was an exclusive right to print a work or a class of works. The earliest recorded printing privilege dates from 1469, giving John of Speyer a five-year monopoly on all ...
s, a precursor of modern
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to make copies of a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musical form. Copyright is ...

copyright
. In modern usage, the term ''patent'' usually refers to the right granted to anyone who invents something new, useful and non-obvious. A patent is often referred to as a form of
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property, and some countries recognize more than others. The most well-known types are copyright ...
right, an expression which is also used to refer to
trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-markThe styling of ''trademark'' as a single word is predominantly used in the United States and Philippines only, while the two-word styling ''trade mark'' is used in many other countries around ...
s and
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to make copies of a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musical form. Copyright is ...

copyright
s, and which has proponents and detractors (see also Intellectual property § The term "intellectual property"). Some other types of intellectual property rights are also called ''patents'' in some jurisdictions:
industrial design right An industrial design right is an intellectual property right that protects the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian. An industrial design consists of the creation of a shape, configuration or composition of pattern or color, or ...
s are called ''
design patentUS design patent D48,160 for the original Coca-Cola bottle. In the United States, a design patent is a form of legal protection granted to the ornamental design of a functional item. Design patents are a type of industrial design right. Ornamental de ...
s'' in the US,
plant breeders' rights Plant breeders' rights (PBR), also known as plant variety rights (PVR), are rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant that give the breeder exclusive control over the propagating material (including seed, cuttings, divisions, tissue c ...
are sometimes called ''plant patents'', and
utility model A utility model is a patent-like intellectual property right to protect inventions. This type of right is available in many countries but, notably, not in the United States, United Kingdom or Canada. Although a utility model is similar to a patent, ...
s and ''
GebrauchsmusterIn German and Austrian patent laws, the ''Gebrauchsmuster'' (GebrM), also known as German utility model or Austrian utility model, is a patent-like, intellectual property right protecting inventions. The Gebrauchsmuster is slightly different from th ...
'' are sometimes called ''petty patents'' or ''innovation patents''. The additional qualification ''utility patent'' is sometimes used (primarily in the US) to distinguish the primary meaning from these other types of patents. Particular species of patents for inventions include
biological patent A biological patent is a patent on an invention in the field of biology that by law allows the patent holder to exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing the protected invention for a limited period of time. The scope and reach of bio ...
s,
business method patent Business method patents are a class of patents which disclose and claim new methods of doing business. This includes new types of e-commerce, insurance, banking and tax compliance etc. Business method patents are a relatively new species of patent ...
s,
chemical patent A chemical patent, pharmaceutical patent or drug patent is a patent for an invention in the chemical or pharmaceuticals industry. Strictly speaking, in most jurisdictions, there are essentially no differences between the legal requirements to obtai ...
s and
software patent A software patent is a patent on a piece of software, such as a computer program, libraries, user interface, or algorithm. Background A patent is a set of exclusionary rights granted by a state to a patent holder for a limited period of time, us ...
s.


History

Although there is some evidence that some form of patent rights was recognized in
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity ( AD 600). This era was immediately followed by the Early Middle ...
in the Greek city of
Sybaris Sybaris ( grc, Σύβαρις; it, Sibari) was an important city of Magna Graecia. It was situated on the Gulf of Taranto, in Southern Italy, between two rivers, the Crathis (Crati) and the Sybaris (Coscile). The city was founded in 720 BC b ...
,
Charles Anthon Charles Anthon (November 19, 1797 – July 29, 1867) was an American classical scholar. Life His father George Christian Anthon was a German-American medical doctor who served in the British Army during the American Revolution until the surrende ...
, ''A Classical Dictionary: Containing An Account of the Principal Proper Names Mentioned in Ancient Authors, And Intended To Elucidate All The Important Points Connected With The Geography, History, Biography, Mythology, And Fine Arts Of The Greeks And Romans Together With An Account Of Coins, Weights, And Measures, With Tabular Values Of The Same'', Harper & Bros, 1841, page 1273.
the first statutory patent system is generally regarded to be the
Venetian Patent Statute220px, The Venetian Patent Statute, enacted by the Senate of Venice in 1474, is widely accepted to be the basis for the earliest patent system in the world. The Venetian Patent Statute of March 19, 1474, established in the Republic of Venice the first ...
of 1474. Patents were systematically granted in
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is built on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are ...
as of 1474, where they issued a decree by which new and inventive devices had to be communicated to the
Republic A republic ( la, res publica, links=yes, meaning "public affair") is a form of government in which "power is held by the people and their elected representatives". In republics, the country is considered a "public matter", not the private concern ...
in order to obtain legal protection against potential infringers. The period of protection was 10 years. As Venetians emigrated, they sought similar patent protection in their new homes. This led to the diffusion of patent systems to other countries.M. Frumkin, "The Origin of Patents", Journal of the Patent Office Society, March 1945, Vol. XXVII, No. 3, pp 143 et Seq. The English patent system evolved from its early medieval origins into the first modern patent system that recognised intellectual property in order to stimulate invention; this was the crucial legal foundation upon which the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machin ...
could emerge and flourish. By the 16th century, the English
Crown '' File:서봉총 금관 금제드리개.jpg, The Seobongchong Golden Crown of Ancient Silla, which is 339th National Treasure of South Korea. It is basically following the standard type of Silla's Crown. It was excavated by Swedish Crown P ...
would habitually abuse the granting of letters patent for
monopolies A monopoly (from Greek el, μόνος, mónos, single, alone, label=none and el, πωλεῖν, pōleîn, to sell, label=none) exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity. This contrasts with a monopsony wh ...
. After public outcry,
King James I of England James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his ...

King James I of England
(VI of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
) was forced to revoke all existing monopolies and declare that they were only to be used for "projects of new invention". This was incorporated into the
Statute of Monopolies The Statute of Monopolies was an Act of the Parliament of England notable as the first statutory expression of English patent law. Patents evolved from letters patent, issued by the monarch to grant monopolies over particular industries to skille ...
(1624) in which Parliament restricted the Crown's power explicitly so that the King could only issue letters patent to the inventors or introducers of original inventions for a fixed number of years. The Statute became the foundation for later developments in patent law in England and elsewhere. Important developments in patent law emerged during the 18th century through a slow process of judicial interpretation of the law. During the reign of Queen Anne, patent applications were required to supply a complete specification of the principles of operation of the invention for public access. Legal battles around the 1796 patent taken out by
James Watt James Watt (; 30 January 1736 (19 January 1736 OS) – 25 August 1819) was a Scottish inventor, mechanical engineer, and chemist who improved on Thomas Newcomen's 1712 Newcomen steam engine with his Watt steam engine in 1776, which was fundam ...

James Watt
for his
steam engine from Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria, England A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid. The steam engine uses the force produced by steam pressure to push a piston back and forth inside ...
, established the principles that patents could be issued for improvements of an already existing machine and that ideas or principles without specific practical application could also legally be patented. The English legal system became the foundation for patent law in countries with a
common law#REDIRECT common law#REDIRECT common law {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
heritage, including the United States,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of . New Zealand ...
and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixt ...

Australia
. In the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries which declared independence in ...
, inventors could obtain patents through petition to a given colony's legislature. In 1641,
Samuel Winslow Samuel Ellsworth Winslow (April 11, 1862 – July 11, 1940) was an American politician and Republican Congressman from Massachusetts. Biography Winslow was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. He spent a year at the Williston Seminary in Easthampto ...
was granted the first patent in North America by the
Massachusetts General Court The Massachusetts General Court (formally styled the General Court of Massachusetts) is the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The name "General Court" is a hold-over from the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, wh ...
for a new process for making salt. The modern French patent system was created during the
Revolution In political science, a revolution (Latin: ''revolutio'', "a turn around") is a fundamental and relatively sudden change in political power and political organization which occurs when the population revolts against the government, typically due ...
in 1791. Patents were granted without examination since inventor's right was considered as a natural one. Patent costs were very high (from 500 to 1,500 francs). Importation patents protected new devices coming from foreign countries. The patent law was revised in 1844patent cost was lowered and importation patents were abolished. The first Patent Act of the U.S. Congress was passed on April 10, 1790, titled "An Act to promote the progress of useful Arts". The first patent under the Act was granted on July 31, 1790 to Samuel Hopkins for a method of producing
potash Potash () includes various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water-soluble form.
(potassium carbonate). A revised patent law was passed in 1793, and in 1836 a major revision to the patent law was passed. The 1836 law instituted a significantly more rigorous application process, including the establishment of an examination system. Between 1790 and 1836 about ten thousand patents were granted. By the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern states loyal to the Union and southern states that had seceded to form the Confederate States of America. Th ...
about 80,000 patents had been granted.


Gender gap in patents

In the US, women were historically precluded from obtaining patents. While section 1 of the
Patent Act of 1790The Patent Act of 1790 () was the first patent statute passed by the federal government of the United States. It was enacted on April 10, 1790, about one year after the constitution was ratified and a new government was organized. The law was concise ...
did refer to "she" married women were unable to own property in their own name and were also prohibited from rights to their own income, including income from anything they invented. This historical gender gap has lessened over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries, however, disparity is still prevalent. In the UK, for example, only 8% of inventors were female as of 2015. This can partly be attributed to historical barriers for women to obtain patents, as well as to the fact that women are underrepresented in traditionally "patent-intensive" sectors, particularly
STEM Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some other structure ** Stipe (mycology), the stem supporting the ca ...
sectors. Marcowitz-Bitton et al argue that the gender gap in patents is also a result of internal bias within the patent system.


Law


Effects

A patent does not give a right to make or use or sell an invention."A patent is not the grant of a right to make or use or sell. It does not, directly or indirectly, imply any such right. It grants only the right to exclude others. The supposition that a right to make is created by the patent grant is obviously inconsistent with the established distinctions between generic and specific patents, and with the well-known fact that a very considerable portion of the patents granted are in a field covered by a former relatively generic or basic patent, are tributary to such earlier patent, and cannot be practiced unless by license thereunder." – ''Herman v. Youngstown Car Mfg. Co.'', 191 F. 579, 584–85, 112 CCA 185 (6th Cir. 1911) Rather, a patent provides, from a legal standpoint, the
right Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. ...
to ''exclude others'' from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented
invention An invention is a unique or novel device, method, composition or process. The invention process is a process within an overall engineering and product development process. It may be an improvement upon a machine or product or a new process for ...
for the term of the patent, which is usually 20 years from the filing dateArticle 33 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (
TRIPS The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It establishes minimum standards for the regulation by natio ...
).
subject to the payment of maintenance fees. From an economic and practical standpoint however, a patent is better and perhaps more precisely regarded as conferring upon its proprietor "a right to ''try'' to exclude by asserting the patent in court", for many granted patents turn out to be invalid once their proprietors attempt to assert them in court. A patent is a limited property right the government gives inventors in exchange for their agreement to share details of their inventions with the public. Like any other property right, it may be sold, licensed, mortgaged, assigned or transferred, given away, or simply abandoned. A patent, being an exclusionary right, does not necessarily give the patent owner the right to exploit the invention subject to the patent. For example, many inventions are improvements of prior inventions that may still be covered by someone else's patent. If an inventor obtains a patent on improvements to an existing invention which is still under patent, they can only legally use the improved invention if the patent holder of the original invention gives permission, which they may refuse. Some countries have "working provisions" that require the invention be exploited in the jurisdiction it covers. Consequences of not working an invention vary from one country to another, ranging from revocation of the patent rights to the awarding of a
compulsory license A compulsory license provides that the owner of a patent or copyright licenses the use of their rights against payment either set by law or determined through some form of adjudication or arbitration. In essence, under a compulsory license, an in ...
awarded by the courts to a party wishing to exploit a patented invention. The patentee has the opportunity to challenge the revocation or license, but is usually required to provide evidence that the reasonable requirements of the public have been met by the working of invention.


Challenges

In most jurisdictions, there are ways for third parties to challenge the validity of an allowed or issued patent at the national patent office; these are called
opposition proceedingAn opposition proceeding is an administrative process available under the patent and trademark law of many jurisdictions which allows third parties to formally challenge the validity of a pending patent application ("pre-grant opposition"), of a gran ...
s. It is also possible to challenge the validity of a patent in court. In either case, the challenging party tries to prove that the patent should never have been granted. There are several grounds for challenges: the claimed subject matter is not
patentable subject matter Patentable, statutory or patent-eligible subject matter is subject matter which is susceptible of patent protection. The laws or patent practices of many countries provide that certain subject-matter is excluded from patentability, even if the inven ...
at all; the claimed subject matter was actually not new, or was obvious to the
person skilled in the art A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownersh ...
, at the time the application was filed; or that some kind of fraud was committed during prosecution with regard to listing of inventors, representations about when discoveries were made, etc. Patents can be found to be invalid in whole or in part for any of these reasons.


Infringement

Patent infringement occurs when a third party, without authorization from the patentee, makes, uses, or sells a patented invention. Patents, however, are enforced on a national basis. The making of an item in China, for example, that would infringe a US patent, would not constitute infringement under US patent law unless the item were imported into the US. Infringement includes literal infringement of a patent, meaning they are performing a prohibited act that is protected against by the patent. There is also the Doctrine of Equivalents. This doctrine protects from someone creating a product that is basically, by all rights, the same product that is protected with just a few modifications. In some countries, like the United States, there is liability for another two forms of infringement. One is contributory infringement, which is participating in another’s infringement. This could be a company helping another company to create a patented product or selling the patented product which is created by another company. There is also inducement to infringement, which is when a party induces or assists another party in violating a patent. An example of this would be a company paying another party to create a patented product in order to reduce their competitor’s market share. This is important when it comes to gray market goods, which is when a patent owner sells a product in country A, wherein they have the product patented, then another party buys and sells it, without the owner’s permission, in country B, wherein the owner also has a patent for the product. With either national or regional exhaustion being the law the in country B, the owner may still be able to enforce their patent rights; however, if country B has a policy of international exhaustion, then the patent owner will have no legal grounds for enforcing the patent in country B as it was already sold in a different country.


Enforcement

Patents can generally only be enforced through civil lawsuits (for example, for a US patent, by an action for patent infringement in a United States federal district court), although some countries (such as
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of Fr ...
and
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine federated states (''Bund ...
) have criminal penalties for wanton infringement. Typically, the patent owner seeks monetary compensation (
damages At common law, damages are a remedy in the form of a monetary award to be paid to a claimant as compensation for loss or injury. To warrant the award, the claimant must show that a breach of duty has caused foreseeable loss. To be recognised at l ...
) for past infringement, and seeks an
injunction An injunction is a legal and equitable remedy in the form of a special court order that compels a party to do or refrain from specific acts. ("The court of appeals ... has exclusive jurisdiction to enjoin, set aside, suspend (in whole or in part) ...
that prohibits the defendant from engaging in future acts of infringement, or seeks either damages or injunction. To prove infringement, the patent owner must establish that the accused infringer practises all the requirements of at least one of the claims of the patent. (In many jurisdictions the scope of the patent may not be limited to what is literally stated in the claims, for example due to the ''
doctrine of equivalents The doctrine of equivalents is a legal rule in many (but not all) of the world's patent systems that allows a court to hold a party liable for patent infringement even though the infringing device or process does not fall within the literal scope of ...
''.) An accused infringer has the right to challenge the validity of the patent allegedly being infringed in a
counterclaim In a court of law, a party's claim is a counterclaim if one party asserts claims in response to the claims of another. In other words, if a plaintiff initiates a lawsuit and a defendant responds to the lawsuit with claims of his or her own agains ...
. A patent can be found invalid on grounds described in the relevant patent laws, which vary between countries. Often, the grounds are a subset of requirements for
patentability Within the context of a national or multilateral body of law, an invention is patentable if it meets the relevant legal conditions to be granted a patent. By extension, patentability also refers to the substantive conditions that must be met for a p ...
in the relevant country. Although an infringer is generally free to rely on any available ground of invalidity (such as a prior publication, for example), some countries have sanctions to prevent the same validity questions being relitigated. An example is the UK
Certificate of contested validityIn United Kingdom patent law, a certificate of contested validity is an order usually made by the Patent Office, Patents Court (a division of the High Court) or Patents County Court after a patent infringement action in which the validity of the pate ...
. Patent licensing agreements are
contract A contract is a legally binding document between at least two parties that defines and governs the rights and duties of the parties to an agreement. A contract is legally enforceable because it meets the requirements and approval of the law. A ...
s in which the patent owner (the licensor) agrees to grant the licensee the right to make, use, sell, or import the claimed invention, usually in return for a royalty or other compensation. It is common for companies engaged in complex technical fields to enter into multiple license agreements associated with the production of a single product. Moreover, it is equally common for competitors in such fields to license patents to each other under
cross-licensingA cross-licensing agreement is a contract between two or more parties where each party grants rights to their intellectual property to the other parties. Patent law In patent law, a cross-licensing agreement is an agreement according to which two o ...
agreements in order to share the benefits of using each other's patented inventions.


Ownership

In most countries, both natural persons and corporate entities may apply for a patent. In the United States, however, only the inventor(s) may apply for a patent, although it may be assigned to a corporate entity subsequently and inventors may be required to assign inventions to their employers under an employment contract. In most European countries, ownership of an invention may pass from the inventor to their employer by rule of law if the invention was made in the course of the inventor's normal or specifically assigned employment duties, where an invention might reasonably be expected to result from carrying out those duties, or if the inventor had a special obligation to further the interests of the employer's company. Applications by artificial intelligence systems, such as DABUS, have been rejected in the US, the UK, and at the European Patent Office on the grounds they are not natural persons. The inventors, their successors or their assignees become the proprietors of the patent when and if it is granted. If a patent is granted to more than one proprietor, the laws of the country in question and any agreement between the proprietors may affect the extent to which each proprietor can exploit the patent. For example, in some countries, each proprietor may freely license or assign their rights in the patent to another person while the law in other countries prohibits such actions without the permission of the other proprietor(s). The ability to assign ownership rights increases the
liquidityLiquidity is a concept in economics involving the convertibility of assets and obligations. It can include: * Market liquidity, the ease with which an asset can be sold * Accounting liquidity, the ability to meet cash obligations when due * Liquid c ...
of a patent as property. Inventors can obtain patents and then sell them to third parties. The third parties then own the patents and have the same rights to prevent others from exploiting the claimed inventions, as if they had originally made the inventions themselves.


Governing laws

The grant and enforcement of patents are governed by national laws, and also by international treaties, where those treaties have been given effect in national laws. Patents are granted by national or regional patent offices. A given patent is therefore only useful for protecting an invention in the country in which that patent is granted. In other words, patent law is territorial in nature. When a patent application is published, the invention disclosed in the application becomes
prior art Prior art (state of the art or background art), in most systems of patent law, is constituted by all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent's claims of originality. ...
and enters the
public domain The public domain consists of all the creative work to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable. As examples, the works of William Shakespea ...
(if not protected by other patents) in countries where a patent applicant does not seek protection, the application thus generally becoming prior art against anyone (including the applicant) who might seek patent protection for the invention in those countries. Commonly, a nation or a group of nations forms a
patent office#REDIRECT Patent office {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
with responsibility for operating that nation's patent system, within the relevant patent laws. The patent office generally has responsibility for the grant of patents, with infringement being the remit of national courts. The authority for patent statutes in different countries varies. In the UK, substantive patent law is contained in the Patents Act 1977 as amended. In the United States, the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed. When these principl ...

Constitution
empowers
Congress A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different countries, constituent states, organizations, trade unions, political parties or other groups. The term originated in Late Middle English to denote an encounter (meeting of adversa ...
to make laws to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts ...". The laws Congress passed are codified in
Title 35 of the United States Code Title 35 of the United States Code is a title of United States Code regarding patent law. The sections of Title 35 govern all aspects of patent law in the United States. There are currently 37 chapters, which include 376 sections (149 of which are ...
and created the
United States Patent and Trademark Office The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that issues patents to inventors and businesses for their inventions, and trademark registration for product and intellectual property identif ...
. There is a trend towards global harmonization of patent laws, with the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. It officially commenced operations on 1 January 1995, pursuant to the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, thus rep ...
(WTO) being particularly active in this area. The
TRIPS Agreement The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It establishes minimum standards for the regulation by natio ...
has been largely successful in providing a forum for nations to agree on an aligned set of patent laws. Conformity with the TRIPS agreement is a requirement of admission to the WTO and so compliance is seen by many nations as important. This has also led to many developing nations, which may historically have developed different laws to aid their development, enforcing patents laws in line with global practice. Internationally, there are international treaty procedures, such as the procedures under the
European Patent Convention The European Patent Convention (EPC), also known as the Convention on the Grant of European Patents of 5 October 1973, is a multilateral treaty instituting the European Patent Organisation and providing an autonomous legal system according to wh ...
(EPC) onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation_(EPOrg).html" ;"title="European_Patent_Organisation.html" ;"title="onstituting the onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation_(EPOrg)">European_Patent_Organisation.html"_;"title="onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation">onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation_(EPOrg)_that_centralize_some_portion_of_the_filing_and_examination_procedure._Similar_arrangements_exist_among_the_member_states_of_African_Regional_Intellectual_Property_Organization.html" ;"title="European Patent Organisation">onstituting the European_Patent_Organisation.html"_;"title="onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation">onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation_(EPOrg)_that_centralize_some_portion_of_the_filing_and_examination_procedure._Similar_arrangements_exist_among_the_member_states_of_African_Regional_Intellectual_Property_Organization">ARIPO_and_Organisation_Africaine_de_la_Propriété_Intellectuelle.html" ;"title="European Patent Organisation (EPOrg)">European_Patent_Organisation.html" ;"title="onstituting the onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation_(EPOrg)_that_centralize_some_portion_of_the_filing_and_examination_procedure._Similar_arrangements_exist_among_the_member_states_of_African_Regional_Intellectual_Property_Organization">ARIPO_and_Organisation_Africaine_de_la_Propriété_Intellectuelle">OAPI,_the_analogous_treaties_among_African_countries,_and_the_nine_Commonwealth_of_Independent_States.html" ;"title="European Patent Organisation">onstituting the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) that centralize some portion of the filing and examination procedure. Similar arrangements exist among the member states of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization">ARIPO and Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle">OAPI, the analogous treaties among African countries, and the nine Commonwealth of Independent States">CIS member states that have formed the Eurasian Patent Organization. A key international convention relating to patents is the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, initially signed in 1883. The Paris Convention sets out a range of basic rules relating to patents, and although the convention does not have direct legal effect in all national jurisdictions, the principles of the convention are incorporated into all notable current patent systems. The Paris Convention set a minimum patent protection of 20 years, but the most significant aspect of the convention is the provision of the right to claim priority: filing an application in any one member state of the Paris Convention preserves the right for one year to file in any other member state, and receive the benefit of the original filing date. Another key treaty is the
Patent Cooperation Treaty The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international patent law treaty, concluded in 1970. It provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting states. A patent application filed unde ...
(PCT), administered by the
World Intellectual Property Organization The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN). Pursuant to the 1967 Convention Establishing the World ...
(WIPO) and covering more than 150 countries. The Patent Cooperation Treaty provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting states along with giving owners a 30 month priority for applications as opposed to the standard 12 the Paris Convention granted. A patent application filed under the PCT is called an international application, or PCT application. The steps for PCT applications are as follows: 1. Filing the PCT patent application 2. Examination during the international phase 3. Examination during the national phase. Alongside these international agreements for patents there was the Patent Law Treaty (PLT). This treaty standardized the filing date requirements, standardized the application and forms, allows for electronic communication and filing, and avoids unintentional loss of rights, and simplifies patent office procedures. Sometimes, nations grant others, other than the patent owner, permissions to create a patented product based on different situations that align with public policy or public interest. These may include compulsory licenses, scientific research, and in transit in country.


Application and prosecution

Before filing for an application, which must be paid for whether a patent is granted or not, a person will want to ensure that their material is patentable. A big part of this is that patentable material must be ''man-made'', meaning that anything natural cannot be patented. For example, minerals, materials, genes, facts, organisms, and biological processes cannot be patented, ''but'' if someone were to take this and utilize and inventive, non-obvious, step with it to create something man-made, ''that'', the end result, could be patentable. That includes man-made strains of bacteria, as was decided in Diamond v. Chakrabarty. Patentability is also dependent on public policy, if it goes against public policy, it will not be patentable. An example of this is patent a man-modified higher life-form, such as a mouse as seen in Harvard College v. Canada. Additionally, patentable materials must be novel, useful, and a non-obvious inventive step. A patent is requested by filing a written
application Application may refer to: Mathematics and computing * Application software, computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks ** Application layer, an abstraction layer that specifies protocols and interface methods used in a co ...

application
at the relevant patent office. The person or company filing the application is referred to as "the applicant". The applicant may be the inventor or its assignee. The application contains a description of how to make and use the invention that must provide sufficient detail for a person skilled in the art (i.e., the relevant area of technology) to make and use the invention. In some countries there are requirements for providing specific information such as the usefulness of the invention, the best mode of performing the invention known to the inventor, or the technical problem or problems solved by the invention. Drawings illustrating the invention may also be provided. The application also includes one or more
claims Claim may refer to: * Claim (legal) * Claim of Right Act 1689 * Claims-based identity * Claim (philosophy) * Land claim * A ''main contention'', see conclusion of law * Patent claim * The assertion of a proposition; see Douglas N. Walton * A right ...
that define what a patent covers or the "scope of protection". After filing, an application is often referred to as "
patent pending "Patent pending" (sometimes abbreviated by "pat. pend." or "pat. pending") or "patent applied for" are legal designations or expressions that can be used in relation to a product or process once a patent application for the product or process h ...
". While this term does not confer legal protection, and a patent cannot be enforced until granted, it serves to provide warning to potential infringers that if the patent is issued, they may be liable for damages. Once filed, a patent application is "prosecuted". A
patent examinerA patent examiner (or, historically, a patent clerk) is an employee, usually a civil servant with a scientific or engineering background, working at a patent office. Major employers of patent examiners are the European Patent Office (EPO), the United ...
reviews the patent application to determine if it meets the
patentability Within the context of a national or multilateral body of law, an invention is patentable if it meets the relevant legal conditions to be granted a patent. By extension, patentability also refers to the substantive conditions that must be met for a p ...
requirements of that country. If the application does not comply, objections are communicated to the applicant or their patent agent or attorney through an
Office action In the United States, an Office action is a document written by an examiner in a patent or trademark examination procedure and mailed to an applicant for a patent or trademark. The expression is used in many jurisdictions. Formally, the "O" is s ...
, to which the applicant may respond. The number of Office actions and responses that may occur vary from country to country, but eventually a final rejection is sent by the patent office, or the patent application is granted, which after the payment of additional fees, leads to an issued, enforceable patent. In some jurisdictions, there are opportunities for third parties to bring an
opposition proceedingAn opposition proceeding is an administrative process available under the patent and trademark law of many jurisdictions which allows third parties to formally challenge the validity of a pending patent application ("pre-grant opposition"), of a gran ...
between grant and issuance, or post-issuance. Once granted the patent is subject in most countries to
renewal feesMaintenance fees or renewal fees are fees paid to maintain a granted patent in force. Some patent laws require the payment of maintenance fees for pending patent applications. Not all patent laws require the payment of maintenance fees and different ...
to keep the patent in force. These fees are generally payable on a yearly basis. Some countries or regional patent offices (e.g. the
European Patent Office The European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the two organs of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg), the other being the Administrative Council. The EPO acts as executive body for the organisationNetherlands.html" style="text-decoration: none;"c ...
) also require annual renewal fees to be paid for a patent application before it is granted.


Costs

The costs of preparing and filing a patent application, prosecuting it until grant and maintaining the patent vary from one jurisdiction to another, and may also be dependent upon the type and complexity of the invention, and on the type of patent. The European Patent Office estimated in 2005 that the average cost of obtaining a European patent (via a Euro-direct application, i.e. not based on a PCT application) and maintaining the patent for a 10-year term was around €32,000. Since the London Agreement entered into force on May 1, 2008, this estimation is however no longer up-to-date, since fewer translations are required. In the United States, in 2000 the cost of obtaining a patent (
patent prosecution Patent prosecution describes the interaction between applicants and their representatives, and a patent office with regard to a patent, or an application for a patent. Broadly, patent prosecution can be split into pre-grant prosecution, which invo ...
) was estimated to be from $10,000 to $30,000 per patent. When patent litigation is involved (which in year 1999 happened in about 1,600 cases compared to 153,000 patents issued in the same year), costs increase significantly: although 95% of patent litigation cases are settled out of court, those that reach the courts have legal costs on the order of a million dollars per case, not including associated business costs.


Alternatives

A
defensive publication A defensive publication, or defensive disclosure, is an intellectual property strategy used to prevent another party from obtaining a patent on a product, apparatus or method for instance. The strategy consists in disclosing an enabling description ...
is the act of publishing a detailed description of a new invention without patenting it, so as to establish
prior art Prior art (state of the art or background art), in most systems of patent law, is constituted by all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent's claims of originality. ...
and public identification as the creator/originator of an invention, although a defensive publication can also be anonymous. A defensive publication prevents others from later being able to patent the invention. A
trade secret Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property that comprise formulas, practices, processes, designs, instruments, patterns, or compilations of information that have inherent economic value because they are not generally known or readily ascert ...
is information that is intentionally kept confidential and that provides a competitive advantage to its possessor. Trade secrets are protected by
non-disclosure agreement A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA) or secrecy agreement (SA), is a legal contract or part of a contract between at leas ...
and
labour law Labour law (also known as labor law or employment law) mediates the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade unions and the government. Collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union ...
, each of which prevents information leaks such as breaches of confidentiality and
industrial espionage Industrial espionage, economic espionage, corporate spying or corporate espionage is a form of espionage conducted for commercial purposes instead of purely national security. While economic espionage is conducted or orchestrated by governments ...
. Compared to patents, the advantages of trade secrets are that the value of a trade secret continues until it is made public, whereas a patent is only in force for a specified time, after which others may freely copy the invention; does not require payment of fees to governmental agencies or filing paperwork; has an immediate effect; and does not require any disclosure of information to the public. The key disadvantage of a trade secret is its vulnerability to
reverse engineering Reverse engineering (also known as backwards engineering or back engineering) is a process or method through the application of which one attempts to understand through deductive reasoning how a device, process, system, or piece of software accomp ...
.


Benefits

Primary incentives embodied in the patent system include incentives to invent in the first place; to disclose the invention once made; to invest the sums necessary to experiment, produce and market the invention; and to
design aroundIn the field of patents, the phrase "to design around" means to invent an alternative to a patented invention that does not infringe the patent's claims. The phrase can also refer to the invention itself. Design-arounds are considered to be one of ...
and improve upon earlier patents. # Patents provide incentives for economically efficient
research and development Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization, and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may be an expa ...
(R&D). A study conducted annually by the
Institute for Prospective Technological Studies The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), located in Seville, Spain, is one of the seven institutes of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), a Directorate-General of the European Commission (EC). Fields of expertise The IPTS provides ...
(IPTS) shows that the 2,000 largest global companies invested more than 430 billion euros in 2008 in their R&D departments. If the investments can be considered as inputs of R&D, real products and patents are the outputs. Based on these groups, a project named Corporate Invention Board, had measured and analyzed the patent portfolios to produce an original picture of their technological profiles. Supporters of patents argue that without patent protection, R&D spending would be significantly less or eliminated altogether, limiting the possibility of technological advances or breakthroughs. Corporations would be much more conservative about the R&D investments they made, as third parties would be free to exploit any developments. This second justification is closely related to the basic ideas underlying traditional
property rights The right to property or right to own property (cf. ownership) is often classified as a human right for natural persons regarding their possessions. A general recognition of a right to private property is found more rarely and is typically heavily ...
.Howard T. Markey (chief judge of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and later of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit), ''Special Problems in Patent Cases'', 66 F.R.D. 529, 1975.
Specifically, " e patent internalizes the
externality In economics, an externality is a cost or benefit that is imposed on a third party who did not agree to incur that cost or benefit. For the purpose of these statements, overall cost and benefit to society is defined as the sum of the imputed mone ...

externality
by giving the nventora property right over its invention." A 2008 study by Yi Quan of Kellogg School of Management showed that countries instituting patent protection on pharmaceuticals did not necessarily have an increase in domestic pharmaceutical innovation. Only countries with "higher levels of economic development, educational attainment, and economic freedom" showed an increase. There also appeared to be an optimal level of patent protection that increased domestic innovation. # In accordance with the original definition of the term "patent", patents are intended to facilitate and encourage disclosure of innovations into the
public domain The public domain consists of all the creative work to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable. As examples, the works of William Shakespea ...
for the common good. Thus patenting can be viewed as contributing to Open-source hardware, open hardware after an embargo period (usually of 20 years). If Inventor (patent), inventors did not have the legal protection of patents, in many cases, they might prefer or tend to keep their inventions secret (e.g. keep
trade secret Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property that comprise formulas, practices, processes, designs, instruments, patterns, or compilations of information that have inherent economic value because they are not generally known or readily ascert ...
s). Awarding patents generally makes the details of new technology publicly available, for exploitation by anyone after the patent expires, or for further improvement by other inventors. Furthermore, when a term of patent, patent's term has expired, the public record ensures that the patentee's invention is not lost to humanity. # In many industries (especially those with high fixed costs and either low marginal costs or low reverse engineering costs — computer processors, and pharmaceuticals for example), once an invention exists, the cost of commercialization (testing, tooling up a factory, developing a market, etc.) is far more than the initial conception cost. (For example, the internal rule of thumb at several computer companies in the 1980s was that post-R&D costs were 7-to-1.) One effect of modern patent usage is that a small-time inventor, who can afford both the patenting process and the defense of the patent, can use the exclusive right status to become a licensor. This allows the inventor to accumulate capital from licensing the invention and may allow innovation to occur because he or she may choose not to manage a manufacturing buildup for the invention. Thus the inventor's time and energy can be spent on pure innovation, allowing others to concentrate on manufacturability. Another effect of modern patent usage is to both enable and incentivize competitors to design around (or to "Design around, invent around" according to R S Praveen Raj) the patented invention. This may promote healthy competition among manufacturers, resulting in gradual improvements of the technology base. This may help augment national economies and confer better living standards to the citizens. The 1970 Indian Patent Act allowed the Indian pharmaceutical industry to develop local technological capabilities in this industry. This act coincided with the transformation of India from a bulk importer of pharmaceutical drugs to a leading exporter. The rapid evolution of Indian pharmaceutical industry since the mid-1970s highlights the fact that the design of the patent act was instrumental in building local capabilities even in a developing country like India. This was possible because for many years prior to its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), India did not recognize product patents for pharmaceuticals. Without product patents with which to contend, Indian pharmaceutical companies were able to churn out countless generic drugs, establishing India as one of the leading generic drug manufacturers in the world. Yet in 2005, because of its obligations under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), India was compelled to amend its laws to provide product patent protection to pharmaceuticals. In an attempt to satisfy the competing demands for inexpensive drugs and effective intellectual property protection, the Indian government created a law that afforded protection to pharmaceuticals only if they constituted brand new chemical substances or enhanced the therapeutic “efficacy” of known substances. This law, which is codified under section 3(d) of the Patents (Amendment) Act of 2005,7 has not sat well with some MNCs, including the Swiss company Novartis. Following the denial of a patent for its leukemia drug, Glivec, Novartis challenged the validity of section 3(d) under TRIPS and the Indian Constitution. The Indian Supreme Court ruled against Novartis in a decision that has, and will continue to have, broad implications for MNCs, the Indian pharmaceutical industry, and people around the world in need of affordable drugs. Although there is no guarantee that patents will be protected, due to multiple different factors that may make a patent moot the primary benefit of patents is seen as protection. This is a misconception. Patents ''do not'' protect your invention from being copied. Far from it, it makes your invention public, allowing ''more'' people to see and copy it. However, its purpose is to allow the owner of the patent to enforce patent laws on competitors and others who are producing and selling their patented invention. This means that they are paying for a patent which will allow them to take others to court for utilizing their invention. A patent cannot prevent someone from copying an invention, it only allows the owner of the patent to seek recompense for the other party violating the patent and stealing their invention. As such, patents to deter people from copying an invention, bringing them to the owner to seek an alternative solution. This may take the form of granted permission to utilize the patented invention, leasing out rights to use the patented invention, or even selling the patent to another party. All of these options are ways for a different party to utilize a patent, and the latter two are ways for patent owners to make additional money off of their invention(s). In other words, a huge benefit of patents is monetary gain through exclusive rights of selling an invention and/or leasing out a patented invention to another party who wishes to use it. A good example of this is Samsung with their OLED technology, many companies use this technology for their products, such as Apple for their phones, who is a direct competitor with Samsung, but Apple must pay for Samsung’s OLED screen technology directly to Samsung, or another company it has let produce its patented product. Apple cannot, legally, produce its own OLED displays.


Criticism

Legal scholars, economists, activists, policymakers, industries, and trade organizations have held differing views on patents and engaged in contentious debates on the subject. Critical perspectives emerged in the nineteenth century that were especially based on the principles of free trade.Johns, Adrian: ''Piracy. The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates''. The University of Chicago Press, 2009
Contemporary criticisms have echoed those arguments, claiming that patents block innovation and waste resources (e.g. with patent-related Overhead (business), overheads) that could otherwise be used productively to improve technology. These and other research findings that patents decreased innovation because of the following mechanisms: * Low quality, already known or obvious patents hamper innovation and commercialization. * Blocking the use of fundamental knowledge with patents creates a "tragedy of the anticommons, where future innovations can not take place outside of a single firm in an entire field". * Patents weaken the
public domain The public domain consists of all the creative work to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable. As examples, the works of William Shakespea ...
and innovation that comes from it. * Patent thickets, or "an overlapping set of patent rights", in particular slow innovation. * Broad patents prevent companies from commercializing products and hurt innovation. In the worst case, such broad patents are held by non-practicing entities (patent trolls), which do not contribute to innovation. Enforcement by patent trolls of poor quality patents has led to criticism of the patent office as well as the system itself. For example, in 2011, United States business entities incurred $29 billion in direct costs because of patent trolls. Lawsuits brought by "patent assertion companies" made up 61% of all patent cases in 2012, according to the Santa Clara University School of Law. * Patents apply a "one size fits all" model to industries with differing needs,Richard A Posner for The Atlantic. July 12, 2012
Why There Are Too Many Patents in America
that is especially unproductive for the software industry.James Bessen, Bessen, James, and Michael J. Meurer. Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008. 2009 paperback edition, * Rent-seeking by owners of pharmaceutical patents have also been a particular focus of criticism, as the high prices they enable puts life-saving drugs out of reach of many people. Boldrin and Levine conclude "Our preferred policy solution is to abolish patents entirely and to find other legislative instruments, less open to lobbying and rent seeking, to foster innovation when there is clear evidence that laissez-faire undersupplies it." Abolishing patents may be politically challenging in some countries, however, as the primary economic theories supporting patent law hold that inventors and innovators need patents to recoup the costs associated with research, inventing, and commercializing; this reasoning is weakened if the new technologies decrease these costs. A 2016 paper argued for substantial weakening of patents because current technologies (e.g. 3D printing, cloud computing, synthetic biology, etc.) have reduced the cost of innovation.Lucas S. Osborn, Joshua Pearce, Amberlee Haselhuhn. . ''St. John's Law Review''. 89(4), pp.1185-1253 (Winter 2015)Preprint
/ref> Debates over the usefulness of patents for their primary objective are part of a larger discourse on Intellectual property, intellectual property protection, which also reflects differing perspectives on Opposition to copycopyright.


Anti-patent initiatives

*The Patent Busting Project is an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) initiative challenging patents that the organization claims are illegitimate and suppress innovation or limit online expression. The initiative launched in 2004 and involves two phases: documenting the damage caused by these patents, and submitting challenges to the
United States Patent and Trademark Office The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that issues patents to inventors and businesses for their inventions, and trademark registration for product and intellectual property identif ...
(USPTO). *Patent critic, Joseph Stiglitz has proposed Prizes as an alternative to patents in order to further advance solutions to global problems such as AIDS. *In 2012, Stack Exchange launched Ask Patents, a forum for crowdsourcing prior art to invalidate patents. * Several authors have argued for developing defensive
prior art Prior art (state of the art or background art), in most systems of patent law, is constituted by all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent's claims of originality. ...
to prevent patenting based on obviousness using listsA. Chin.Artful prior art and the quality of DNA patents. Ala. L. Rev. 57 (2005): 975. or algorithms. For example, a Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, has demonstrated a method to protect DNA research., which could apply to other technology. Chin wrote an algorithm to generate 11 million "obvious" nucleotide sequences to count as prior art and his algorithmic approach has already proven effective at anticipating prior art against oligonucleotide composition claims filed since his publication of the list and has been cited by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. patent office a number of times. More recently, Joshua Pearce developed an Open-source model, open-source algorithm for identifying prior art for 3D printing materials to make such materials obvious by patent standards. As the 3-D printing community is already grappling with legal issues, this development was hotly debated in the technical press. Chin made the same algorithm-based obvious argument in DNA probes.Chin, A., 2010. Gene Probes are Unpatentable Printed Matter. Fed. Cir. BJ, 20, p.527. * Google and other technology companies founded the LOT Network in 2014 to combat Patent troll, patent assertion entities by cross-licensing patents, thereby preventing legal action by such entities.


See also

* Outline of patents


References


External links


Directory of Intellectual Property Offices
maintained by
World Intellectual Property Organization The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN). Pursuant to the 1967 Convention Establishing the World ...
(WIPO)
Useful links
maintained by the
European Patent Office The European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the two organs of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg), the other being the Administrative Council. The EPO acts as executive body for the organisationNetherlands.html" style="text-decoration: none;"c ...

OECD Patent statistics
* {{Authority control Patent law, * Monopoly (economics) Public records Intangible assets