Patenting Categories

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Posted 2 years ago

spiral-inventions1Inventions that fall into the following categories are eligible for Utility patent application:

  1. Art: An art refers to the resulting change in either character or condition of a physical object as a result of acts enacted upon it by a physical agent. An example might be an innovative method of etching glass to produce a pleasing result for aesthetic of functional purposes.
  2. Process: A process refers to a method of producing something that may already be in existence. The new process must be unique, useful, and a significant improvement over former processes. For example, a more efficient, economical, and/or environmentally friendly method of recycling plastic grocery bags could be patentable.
  3. Machine: A machine refers to a mechanical devise that has a specific purpose, accomplishing a designated task. Examples range from simple machines such as wind-up toys to complicated robotic machinery for production of car parts on assembly lines
  4. Manufacture: This refers to the making, by any means whether by hand or machine, of objects that are not mechanical. For example, a CD case that is more durable than what is presently on the market by the addition of new features.
  5. Composition of matter: Composition refers to one item that is composed of more than one element, whether in the form of a solid, liquid, or gas. For example, combining several different liquids in specific proportions, may produce a unique and powerful solvent.


Although not specifically a distinct category, Improvements over any of the above existing arts, processes, machines, manufactured items and compositions of matter are patentable, as long as they represent a unique, innovative, and useful improvement. The vast majority of patents are granted in one of the five categories for improvements.


There are two other types of patents granted that fall outside the utility group.

  1. Design patents are granted for new designs applied to manufactured items. The patent applies only to the design and not to the article itself. An example is feminine designs applied to tools to attract the female handi-person.
  2. A plant patent is granted for the invention of new varieties of plants, such as the creation of a hybrid wheat that is more drought resistant.

If you are uncertain as to the patentability of your invention, or what category it may fall in, seek the advice of an experienced agent such as Vince the Patent Guy of Innovative Licensing.

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