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Can processes be patented?

Patents are often associated with products or devices. However, inventing a product or device is not the only potentially valuable innovation a person could make. For example, they could invent a new manufacturing or technical process. Can processes, like more traditional inventions, be patented?

They can here in America, as U.S. patent law allows for the patenting of processes. Processes are among the things that an individual could apply for a utility patent for. For the purposes of patent law, “processes” include methods, acts or processes for doing things.

As a note, improvements to a process can also qualify for a utility patent.

Now, not all processes and improvements to processes are patentable. To be eligible for a patent, a given process or improvement has to meet certain requirements. This includes that it must be deemed useful and new.

Understanding whether a process that they have invented would have patent eligibility can be key for a person when they are planning how to use and protect their new process. What level of intellectual property protection their innovations can have, and end up getting, can have considerable impacts on an inventor and the overall financial value their innovations have for them.

Patent lawyers can provide inventors in the Minneapolis area and the surrounding region with assessments on how likely processes they have invented are to be deemed patentable. They can also help people who are applying for patents for processes with making and supporting arguments on the patentability of their processes in their patent applications.

Source: FindLaw, “Utility Patents: Overview,” Accessed May 24, 2017

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