We will first address the types of inventions that are eligible for patent protection. Next, we will address the statutory requirements for obtaining a patent. These include utility, novelty and non-obviousness. We will also briefly cover the enablement, best-mode and written-description requirements.
The types of inventions that can be protected by patents are defined by statute. Such inventions include products, processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter or any improvement thereof. These terms have been interpreted broadly over the years.
What is a machine?
One commentator has defined the term to include “not only machines as commonly understood, but various mechanisms, mechanical elements and combinations.” A. Deller, Walker on Patents 119 (2d ed. 1964).
The Supreme Court has defined the term so that “The term machine includes every mechanical device or combination of mechanical powers and devices to perform some function and produce a certain effect or result.” Corning v. Burden, 56 U.S. (15 How.) 252, 267 (1853). Accordingly, the term “machine” is quite broad.