- Utility (patent)
United States patent law, utility is a patentabilityrequirement. Today, the utility requirement is the lowest bar and is easily met. Largely utility is used to prevent the patenting of inoperative devices such as perpetual motion machines. Utility is required by the patent law: UnitedStatesCode|35|101, " inventions patentable", and UnitedStatesCode|35|112, "specification".
There are three types of utility:
# General utility is the requirement of functionality.
# Specific utility is the requirement that the invention actually perform the function.
# Moral, or beneficial, utility requires that the invention not "poison, promote debauchery, facilitate private assassination". [ Lowell v. Lewis, 15 F. Cas. 1018, 1019 (C.C.D. Mass. 1817) ]
patent examiners guidelines require that a patent application express a specific, credible, and substantial utility. Rejection by an examiner usually requires documentary evidence establishing a " prima facie" showing of no specific and substantial credible utility. European patent lawdoes not consider utility as a patentability criterion. [ In this respect, decision [http://legal.european-patent-office.org/dg3/biblio/t040388ex1.htm T 388/04] of March 22, 2006 of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Officehas made it clear that "subject-matter or activities may be excluded from patentability under EPC Article|52|2) and (3 even where they have practical utility" (headnote III.), thus ruling out the utility of an invention as a decisive patentability criterion.] Instead, it requires that to be patentable an invention must have industrial applicability. [ Under the European Patent Convention, see for instance EPC Article|57. ]
Notes and references
Sufficiency of disclosure
Diamond v. Diehr
Reduction to practice
State Street decision
* [http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/documents/2100_2107.htm 2107 Guidelines of Examination]
* [http://www.ipwatchdog.com/nonprovisional.html Utility Patents & Non-provisional Patent Applications]
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