Does Your Patent Meet These Requirements?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) processes, files, and records all patents in the United States. In the U.S., some rules govern what can be patented or trademarked. These rules also dictate how the process can be carried out and who is eligible to do so. 

For example, while the federal government defines what a patent protects, the USPTO reviews each patent. They review it to see if it meets five specific requirements to be considered a patent.

If your patent is consistently being denied, or you’re worried that it will be, the patent attorneys at Emerson Thomson Bennett can help. We’ll start by explaining the five requirements that your patent must meet to be approved.

5 Requirements Your Patent Must Meet For Patent Approval

If every invention could receive a patent, then production would decrease significantly, or patents would lose their value. Every time you create a patent, it would have similarities with everything, and you would be open to being sued, or there would be no protection to speak of.

These requirements are, therefore, in place to give patents meaning. They both allow and force patent holders to create new and useful products/services/ideas.

1. Patentable Subject Matter

Not every creation or idea is patentable. For example, creative works are protected by copyrights, not patents, so a book or film would not be patented. Patents cover subject matter such as:

  • Process: A patentable process is often called a “method.” Under U.S. patent law, a process is defined as a series of steps or actions taken to achieve a particular result.
  • Machines: A machine is defined as a concrete mechanical device, or combination of devices, that fulfills some desired function or result.
  • Manufactures: An article of manufacture is defined as any new or non-obvious physical product. This is when your patent is your product, rather than something you use to offer a service.
  • Compositions of Matter: If you discover or create a new material, such as an element or compound, this would be patentable as a composition of matter.

2. Utility

The USPTO doesn’t want people patenting useless inventions. Your patent must have some kind of value or utility to the world at large. You don’t have to use it to provide a product or service, but it must have the ability to if you so choose. 

When filing for a patent, do not assume that your invention’s utility will be obvious. You must explain in detail how it can provide a service, product, or other benefit to other people.

3. Novelty or Originality

Your invention must be new. You can use technology that you have permission to use. You can also use technology that is available to everyone. The patent must include something new.

For example, combining several different patents to produce a product or service that they had not produced before or in a manner that’s more effective, does have novelty. Combining different patents in a way that has already been done would not be novel.

When using other patents in your patents, you may be granted patent protection but also be forced to prove that you had the license to use those patents in the future.

4. Nonobviousness

This may be the most difficult requirement to prove or disprove for some inventions. Your invention should not be easily thought of by someone with average skills in the same field. It needs to be unique. This means that when the invention was created, it was not something that others could have easily imagined. 

For example, if you create a tool similar to a spoon that is just a bigger version of a spoon, this is an obvious change, and your patent will be rejected. Though, a spork, which combines a spoon and fork, appears nonobvious, but is a new invention. 

The nonobviousness of an invention requires a discerning eye to review and write a patent proposal. To get patent approval, be sure to contact the experienced attorneys at Emerson Thomson Bennett for help.

5. Enablement

Enablement is less a requirement of your patent and more a requirement of your application. The USPTO is not an all-knowing organization that can easily and deftly understand every invention that comes through its office. You need to give a detailed description and explanation of your invention. 

Your explanation should allow someone skilled in your field to understand, make, and use your invention without repetitive experimentation.

Contact the Patent Attorneys at ETB Law to Review Your Patent Request Application

Patent applications cost time and money. If you don’t properly prepare your application so it has the best chance of being approved, you risk it being denied. This will then force you to make a new application again, redo the entire process, and pay as much money as you did the first time.

With the help of the patent attorneys at ETB Law, we can review your patent application to make sure that it meets all five requirements and does not need to be submitted a second time. To learn more about our patent legal services, contact us today.



We provide complete intellectual property representation to business owners, inventors and artists in all matters related to the establishment and protection of domestic and international patents, trademarks and copyrights. Attorneys at our firm also serve as in-house IP counsel for companies whose needs do not call for a full-time internal position.


"*" indicates required fields

How would you like to be contacted?*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.