It's no big secret that innovation is a driving force behind many successful businesses. Creative ideas, followed by the ability to actually implement them can result in huge strategic advantages and windfalls for a business. Protecting these inventions through the filing of patents can allow business owners to stop others from making, using, or selling the same invention without consent. The ability to stop an infringer through an infringement action can only be enjoyed once a patent application has been successful issued. This protection can last up to 20 years from the date of filing of the initial application, assuming that all applicable fees are paid. Unfortunately, many patent applications do not successfully issue. Below are three reasons why a patent application could be rejected.
1. The subject matter is non-patentable - While this is not a common reason for rejection, you sound nonetheless be aware of this one. Primarily because even though you won't hear of it as a common phenomenon, a rejection on these grounds is a serious matter and often challenging to overcome. Therefore, it's best to understand the criteria and specifications regarding what you can and cannot patent. Some of the unpatentable things include mere mathematical equations, methodology of medical treatment, living things, abstract ideas, and physical phenomena. A registered patent agent can help you determine whether or not your invention contains patentable subject matter and can assist in drafting your application in a way that this rejection is not raised.
2. The drawings in the application are inaccurate - While not every patent application requires drawings, the vast majority of them do. Rejections related to drawings may occur where drawings are provided in colour, have excessive shading, or have blurry lines and stray marks. If you are required to replace drawings after a rejection, it is important that the drawings be consistent with what was originally filed and not introduce new matter into the application (which can create other issues). It is crucial that the drawings you submit be both accurate and readily reproducible to prevent a rejection to your drawings.
3. The invention is not novel - Your invention must be new in order for you to receive an issued patent. Novelty, or whether or not your invention is new, refers to the uniqueness of your invention. To be novel, there can be no prior art references that disclose the invention prior to the filing date of the patent application. Prior art includes patent applications, articles, and products that existed publicly prior to the filing of your patent application. If an existing publication describes your invention in full, it is likely that your patent application will be rejected. A patent search can be a beneficial tool for helping to distinguish your invention from others prior to filing. It is also incredibly important that the patent description provide as much detail as possible about an invention as sometimes one small detail can be the difference between an issued patent and a rejection.
The patent process can be overwhelming and confusing. Small mistakes can hamper your ability to obtain an issued patent that provides the protection you seek. A registered patent agent can assist you with the process, answer your questions, and draft an application that provides your best chances of success. Reach out to us with your questions or for assistance.