Can businesses protect their processes without a patent?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2020 | Industry Patents And Infringement |

Sound products make companies profitable. And while companies can patent those products, companies typically can’t patent the processes used to create them. However, keeping production methods and processes out of competitors’ hands is crucial for continued success.

Luckily, companies can work around this patent issue, allowing them to keep methods of production a secret by labeling them as technological inventions. This approach to patenting processes allows companies to patent inventions that make their methods of production unique.

What is a technological invention?

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a technological invention is any invention that:

  • Produces a useful, concrete or tangible result.
  • Is tied to a particular machine or apparatus.
  • Transforms a particular article into a different state or thing.

For instance, if a company’s process is computer-oriented, they may hire someone to develop the front end or back end of an app that makes the process work. Often, apps meet the definition of technological inventions, qualifying them for a patent.

The value of language in labeling technological inventions

If businesses want their inventions approved by the USPTO, they must make sure their wording is precise. That means they should highlight the invention itself rather than discussing the business process it’s used in. Typically, when patent examiners look at these applications, they want to see that companies are trying to improve the invention they made rather than patenting a fundamental economic process. Luckily, an attorney can help companies draft a patent application with the technical language they need.

Wording makes a difference

When companies have a process that makes them stand out, they want to do everything in their power to keep it. But due to certain government barriers, many business owners may fear that those processes could easily fall into the hands of competitors. By framing and wording applications the right way, companies are more likely to get the patent protection they need.