1. Unique Patents
2. Usefulness
3. Novelty
4. Non-Obvious
5. Strange Patents

Unique Patents

Unique patents can be very popular, depending on what type of use they provide. But not all inventions can be patented. There are certain requirements that must be met in order for an invention to obtain patent protection. The invention must be:

• Useful

• Novel

• Non-obvious

Each requirement has a specific meaning; it is important that you are well aware of these requirements so that you can increase your likelihood of success if submitting an invention for patent protection.

Usefulness

The invention must have a purpose. If it is a piece of machinery, it must be operable. The USPTO has guidelines for determining if the invention is in fact useful. In order for an invention to be useful, the following must be met:

• A person of ordinary skill in that industry can immediately understand the usefulness of the invention, including its characteristics. i.e., the application for the invention, processes within the invention, etc.

• The utility is specific, substantial, and credible.

If the USPTO examiner indicates that the invention is not specific, substantial, or credible, he or she must provide an explanation as to why the invention does not meet this requirement. Additionally, if applicable, the examiner must provide actual evidence that proves that the invention does not meet these requirements. That way, the inventor can respond to the rejection providing information detailing why the invention does, in fact, meet such requirements.

Novelty

This is defined by patent law. Particularly, an invention is not novel if it was:

• Known or used by others in the U.S. prior to your invention being created.

• Patented or explained in a printed publication worldwide at any point greater than one year before the patent application.

• Formerly or currently being used by the public more than one year before filing of the patent application.

Non-Obvious

This means that there must be a difference between what has been used from what is being invented. For example, certain products can be used interchangeably, and if this is the case with a new invention, it may not be considered non-obvious.

However, a product that enhances or expands upon a previous invention may be patentable. However, even if the differences would make them very unique to one another, the patent application may be rejected if the differences would be obvious.

Strange Patents

• Social networking updates by comic strips

• Floating wave-powered server farm

• A gadget that projects a keyboard onto your hand

• A throat tattoo microphone w/optional lie detector

• Image capturing walking stick

• Sound, light, and temperature advertisement generator

• Software for splitting restaurant bills

• Pay-per-gaze advertising tracking system

• Virtual assistant that can tweet and post on Facebook

• The heart-hand gesture

• Vibrating tattoo

• Kissing shield, which is simply something you can put on your lips to kiss others, without having to worry about catching any germs

• Face mask that helps you not overeat

• High-five machine

• Portable nuclear shield

• Hiccup treatment, which is generally to be used for those suffering from hiccups for over 48 hours. It is a device that zaps you (electronic current) into no longer having hiccups.

• Flatulence deodorizing pad, to reduce the smell of flatulence

• Life expectancy watch

• A product to help conceal baldness by styling hair to comb-over the balding areas

• Snake walking system, helping you walk your snake

• Thumb-sucking inhibitor

• Portable bath capsule

• Crustless PB&J

• Brain buzzer

• Dog ear protectors, to protect that mess that dogs make when they are eating food or drinking water

• Banana protective device

• Disposable boxer shorts

• Dog chastity belt, if you choose not to neuter or spay your dog

• The beerbrella, which acts as an umbrella for your drink.

• Deceptive diaper, which appears to be a diaper disguised as a candy bar.

• Improved human slingshot machine, which was patented as an improvement to the original product, which was patented in 1995.

• Better mousetrap

• Stealth fly swatter, a product that is miniature in size. This fly swatter is very small and can be placed on the end of your index finger.

If you need help with filing your patent application or want to see if your unique invention can be patented, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.