What is a patent anyways?

Posted on October 9, 2015

A lot of people out there know about patents.  The extent of that knowledge varies. If you were to ask random individuals walking down the street you may not find the correct answer. The answer is, “It is a property right for an invention granted by a government to the inventor. A United States patent gives inventors the right “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling their invention throughout the United States or importing their invention into the United States for a limited time. In exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted and for fees paid to the United States.” (Bellis, “What Is A Patent?”).

With that cleared up we can get into specifics. There are a few different types of patents.  For the purposes of this article we’ll be focusing on two; utility and design.  Creating something new and innovative is increasingly difficult as we dive further and further into the future. Technology has come so incredibly far in the last hundred years, not mention ten years!

A utility patent is given to those who have invented a new process or product that is useful, and perhaps that has been an improvement upon such a product. In the United States, the invention being patented may not have been made public in any way, in any country, for one year prior to the application date. The invention must also be non-obvious, meaning, “An invention involves an inventive step if, when compared with what is already known, it would not be obvious to someone with a good knowledge and experience of the subject, for example, if you just make cosmetic changes that is obvious.” (Bellis, “What Can Be Patented?”).  

A design patent is just that. A patent provided to protect the design of an invention. A design must be new and original to be granted a patent.

Both patents permit the patent holder to keep others from manufacturing and selling products that infringe on their patent. But, that doesn’t always mean there won’t be any competition. Friendly competition is wanted, welcome, and keeps innovators on their toes. Reverse engineering products that have had years of hard work, research, and dedication poured into them is not considered friendly competition.

Shane Chen dedicated much of his time to improving upon a large, bulky, pedestrian transportation device. Out of his enthusiasm came two fascinating and innovative creations; the Solowheel and the Hovertrax. Both of these products have come to be consumer favorites for countless reasons. The modern simplistic design make the products look like they came from the future. The absence of hulking handles and colossal wheels allow for easy and hassle free storage, not to mention easy travel via all types of transportation!

To hold a patent for an invention the invention has to be different, new, inspiring, something that hasn’t been seen publicly before. This is what we’re about at Inventist. Creating the next level of innovation; creating the future.

Move independently. Move freely. Move different. Ride the future. 

1. Bellis, M. (n.d). What Can Be Patented? Retrieved September 17, 2015.

2. Bellis, M (n.d). What Is A Patent? Retrieved September, 17, 2015.