The first step on the road to obtaining a patent is determining whether the subject matter of your invention patentable? Generally, the subject matter of your patent must be a process, machine, composition of matter or manufacture. Process includes methods or procedures such as a procedure of fixing a car or a method doing business over the Internet. Composition of matter includes such things as a new molecule.
Simply put, if you made it then you can patent it. Generally, the limits as to what you may receive a patent for is bound by your imagination. For example, you may be able to receive a patent on a new use of a known process, machine, composition of matter or manufacture.
However, there are exceptions. For example, you may not patent an invention if its only purpose violates morality. Additionally, you may not obtain a patent for a natural phenomena, mental process, and abstract intellectual concept because they are “basic tools” of technological work as explained in https://www.canyon-news.com/how-inventhelp-can-assist-you-as-a-new-inventor/106365 post.
Here, are a few examples to work through so as to make sure that you understand the discussion of what is patentable?
- Is E=mc squared patentable?
- Is magnetism patentable?
- Is an electrical relay patentable?
- Is a pencil patentable?
- Is a website that collects information from various users patentable? E.g., ebay.com.
No, the equation is not patentable subject matter because it is an abstract intellectual concept which is a “basic tool” of technological work. Although the equation is very useful and a discovery of nature, it is not an invention or discovery that may be patented. Magnetism isn’t patentable because it is a natural phenomena and it too is considered to be a “basic tool” of technological work as you can see from https://www.econotimes.com/How-You-Can-Benefit-from-Turning-to-the-InventHelp-Experts-1577312 article.
Rather, an electrical relay that uses the principles of magnetism to operate the inner workings of the relay is patentable. Hence, although natural phenomena and the like are not patentable, an invention that incorporates the principles of the natural phenomena and the like are patentable.
Yes, the pencil is patentable. As stated above, anything made by man is patentable subject matter. Yes, the website is patentable subject matter. It may be easier to think of what is not patentable because the United States has a broad inclusion of invention or discoveries that may be the subject matter of patents.