Patent Law

Gerald Bluhm, Tyco Fire & Security

Introduction

General Considerations

Why Get a Patent?

Patent Term—How Long Does a Patent Last?

Types of Patents

Patent Law in the United States

Constitutional Basis

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

What Is Patentable?

Business Methods

Requirements for Patentability

Patent Prosecution

Appealing an Examiner's Decision

Publication and Provisional Rights

How to Read a Patent

Protecting Patent Rights

Provisional Applications

Non-U.S. Patents

General Information

Patent Cooperation Treaty

Other Considerations

Types of Patent Applications

Time Limits in Patent Prosecution

Employed Inventor Laws and Shoprights

Provisional Rights

Compulsory Licenses and U.S. March-in Rights

Conclusion

Glossary

Cross References

References

Further Reading

INTRODUCTION

This chapter introduces the fundamental concepts of patent law, both in the United States and internationally, with some focus on software and Internet-related issues. Patents are exclusionary monopolies for a limited term, granted in exchange for inventors disclosing how to make or use their inventions. With the promise of such monopolies, inventors are encouraged to invent and thus reap the rewards made possible by the rights accorded. Competitors must either obtain a license to make or use a patented invention or discover new ways that circumvent a patented invention as defined by the patent claims.

Some have rejected the use of the word “monopoly” to describe patents. Regardless of whether one uses ...

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