An invention is any unique or unexpected creation of some sort. The word “Invention” itself is not defined by the US Patent and Trademark Office. However, an invention is defined by an act or omission of a person doing something that alters the nature of things existing now and also changing the law of what can be done by people today. It can be a single invention or an improvement on an existing machine or other object or even a new method for producing an original product or an alteration to an existing practice.
There are many different types of inventions. Some inventions are useful, but there are others that are considered to be improvements. In each case, the inventor must document the nature and details of the improvements. This documentation is referred to as an application.
While identifying the invention and describing it, the inventor should document the way in which their invention changed, added or changed the method of operation. This application should include all the facts and information that prove that their invention provides a better way to do or experience the activity, makes an original product or change the process of using an existing product. Many inventions can be patented. The inventor must apply for a patent before they can patent the invention.
The way an invention is described and documented helps in determining whether it is patented or unpatented. Many times an invention will be described and patented without being disclosed. Often times an invention will be partially disclosed to show that it has new or unexpected characteristics, and sometimes the invention will be partially disclosed without disclosing everything. A description that fully discloses all of the features and functions of an invention is often called full disclosure. On the other hand, a description that simply describes the invention in enough detail so that others can make or use the invention without fear of being infringing is referred to as an abstract or basic disclosure. Some US patents law allows for a less revealing description of an invention which are referred to as abbreviated patents.
Patents provide a legal protection against the unauthorized making or selling of products. There are many different rules governing the time period within which an inventor has to disclose their invention or patent their invention. One of the most important factors that determine the time period is the time period allowed for novelty. Other factors that affect this rule are the amount of competition that would be expected with respect to the product or technology being patented. Many times inventors wait too long before disclosing their inventions, therefore, they never receive any compensation or recognition for their inventions.
Many times inventors wait until after their discoveries or inventions are commercialized before they disclose them. Sometimes this happens because the inventor was trying to protect their invention or patent. Other times, inventors fear that their competitors will “insult” them with what they are working on. When an inventor discloses their invention too late in the game, they could lose control of their invention and lose a lot of money in the process of developing the product. There have been many cases in which a company refused to release the new invention, because it was so far along in development. This means that if you are an inventor waiting to be rewarded, there is hope for you!