Patentable VS. Non-Patentable

Since the beginning of time, men have always found new ways to make their lives easier. During the time of cavemen, they made new ways to hunt their food. In ancient times, the wheel was invented in order to speed up transportation. Through these inventions, daily chores were made easier. Nowadays, if you are able to make an invention, you can patent it. However, not all inventions can be patented.

Let us discuss what a patent is. According to World Intellectual Property Organization, “a patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. An invention is a solution to a specific technological problem and is a product or a process.” As we can dissect from the description, there must be an inventor of a solution to a specific technological problem. This person must find a way to make the lives of others easier through his invention. If his solution is the same as other solutions already patented, then his solution can not be patented.

For an invention to be patentable, it must be a technical solution to a problem in any human activity. The invention must also be new, involves an inventive step, and is industrially applicable. Anything that can solve a problem in human activity can be patented as long as it is new and has an inventive step. It must not come from other persons except if it is an improvement of another product or process. Innovation is key when checking whether or not an invention is patentable or not. For example, Facebook has a patent on “Deep Translations”. They are obviously not the first to make a translator. However, they found a new way to make translating more accurate and efficient in order for people from different parts of the world to easily understand one another when using the Facebook application.

Unfortunately, not all inventions are considered patentable. You can ask the patent lawyers at Aumento & Ponce. According to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, computer softwares or applications, plant breeds, animal breeds or any biological processes for the production of plants and animals, natural products in exactly the same form as they are found in nature are not patentable in the Philippines. Computer softwares or applications are protected under the copyright law but are not patentable. General rule for those inventions coming from nature is that they are not patentable, except when the product originating from nature does not occur naturally. An example of this is when an antibiotic is extracted from a microorganism. The microorganism come from the nature, but the extraction of the antibiotic from it does not occur naturally.

To summarize, there are inventions which can and can not be patented. Those which can be patented are inventions which is new, involves an inventive step, and is industrially applicable. Those inventions which can not be patented are inventions which come from the natural flow of things such as biological processes for the production of plants and animals.