Patentability Criteria – Statutory Status
Preparing and following through on a patent application is a costly, protracted pursuit which may ultimately prove futile, unless a prescribed set of criteria is satisfied by the subject matter set forth in the application. Fulfillment of the criteria of statutory classification and utility, may in fact be determined by the prospective applicant with a fair degree of confidence at the outset, and indeed ought to be determined before a commitment is made to this pursuit.
Perhaps the most rudimentary of patentability criteria is the requirement that the subject matter for which a patent is sought can be classified under one of five “statutory categories”, namely: art, process, machine, manufacture, and composition of matter.
The boundaries between the statutory classes, when applied to certain cases, are not always distinct, and a certain degree of overlap exists, allowing classification of an invention in more than one statutory class. For example, a new type of scissors may conceivably be categorized as both a machine and as an article of manufacture. However, explicit indication of the applicable statutory class or classes is not required of an applicant. The proper classification is determined during examination by the Patent Office.
The five statutory categories, as currently defined, encompass a very broad range of conceivable subject matter; almost all inventions with a bearing on the physical world are well within its ambit. There are professional patenting services, such as patent InventHelp agency, that could help you out in the process.
The “bearing on the physical world” proviso reflects a paradigm, congruence with which is implied by a statutory classification of an invention: it must be a concrete technological solution to a practical problem. Inventions thus endorsed must have a physical manifestation, either a physical embodiment (e.g. an article of manufacture, a device, a machine, or an apparatus) or a physical process of interactions between objects or materials.
“Disembodied” inventive concepts per se, ingenious as they may be, are not patentable; only a physical embodiment of an inventive concept is patentable, or—in the case of a method/process—a specific series of physical steps to be carried out.
One corollary to this principle is the exclusion from patentability of innovations relating to the practice of non-technological fields, such as education, commerce, or entertainment—practices governed by human reasoning and judgment rather than by laws of science and nature (though innovative tools for such practices may certainly be statutory).
Another corollary is the exclusion of innovations characterized solely by their intellectual significance (e.g. abstract theorems, algorithms and computer programs as such, mathematical formulae, scientific principles, and laws of nature), as are innovations of purely aesthetic nature (e.g. fine arts and industrial design). For more information refer to the how to file a patent with InventHelp article.