Introduction to Patents
Glossary of Patent Terms
Patent Related Links
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3. What exactly does a patent protect?Patents protect the novel and unique feature or features of an invention. What is novel and unique must be measured in terms of what already exists anywhere in the world (prior art). Oftentimes, an invention will have what the inventor believes to be more than one novel and unique feature. The patent attorney or agent will try and obtain patent protection on all of these features. However, most usually the PTO Examiner finds that some of the features already exist in prior art and therefore cannot be patented. For example, an invention for a tool may both have a uniquely shaped handle and a specially curved blade. It may turn out that while indeed the handle is patentable, the blade already exists in prior art and is therefore not patentable.
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