Can Improvements on An Existing Patent be Patented?
There are two key features of Patents and Improvement Patents in the United States:
- The Patent Application must claim an invention is novel over the prior art and
- It must also claim an invention that is non-obvious in the prior art
Basic parameters for an Improvement Patent’s validity in most countries other the United States are:
- The claimed invention must be novel over the prior art and
- It must have an inventive step, in view of the prior art
In the United States and foreign jurisdictions, one of the attributes of patent counsel is their ability to persuade Patent Examiners that the client’s Patent claims are novel and nonobvious or include inventive step and therefore are patentable.
Can Utility Improvement Patents for a Simple Invention (a Spoon) be granted?
For clarity, a utility Patent is based on the invention’s structure and/or function rather than its nonfunctional appearance. Design Patents would be directed toward ornamentation of a spoon.
Selected Examples of Utility Patents for Spoons from 1899 to the Present
1899 – Egg Spoon
1905 – Spoon
1968 – Spoon
2012 – Musical Spoon
2014 – Hair Spoon
It is estimated that spoons with handles have existed for at least three thousand years. Humans still find ways to modify the basic spoon’s structure to obtain Patents for their new inventions.
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