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Chemistry: Patents / Technical Reports

Research guide for chemistry and to a lesser extent, chemical engineering.


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What are patents?

  • Legal rights granted by a government or patent issuing agency to an inventor for 20 years in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. There are some variations to the length of the patent protection.

  • Patent owners have the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the jurisdiction in which the patent is registered.

  • Patents can be sold, licensed, reassigned, transferred or simply abandoned.

  • There are more than 100 countries and/or agencies worldwide that grant patents. The laws governing intellectual property vary by country.

What types of patents exist?

  • Utility patent – protects any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof

  • Design patent – protects any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. U.S. design patents are marked with D, Des., or Design.

  • Plant patent – protects invented or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant. U.S. plant patents are marked with PP or Plant.

What are the patentability criteria?

  • The invention must be novel.

    • Has the invention been used in the public, sold, or published anywhere in the world?

  • The invention must have some utility or usefulness.

    • Is the invention useful?  It does not have to be practical.

  • The invention must not be obvious.

    • Is the invention obvious to someone who is skilled in the art?

  • Plus, enough detail about the invention must be shared in the patent so that someone of average skill in the art could understand the invention.


Technical Reports

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