We all know that the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) is a gigantic document. I mean, literally, having one printed at kinkos might double the national debt. Ok, perhaps not, but what remains true is that the MPEP is over 3,000 pages of legal and technical language, tricky facts and rules, that often leave those studying befuddled as to what to know, how to study.
So, as we are on the topic of MOST important things to review and know out of the MPEP, we’d probably say this: Know the 35 USC 102’s verbatium, inside and out, to the point where if you are ever traveling in an elevator in some tall skyscraper and you pass the 102nd floor you immediately begin recounting the facts and rules without thinking. Yeah, know them that well.
So, for those who don’t know, what in the world is/are 35 USC 102?
35 USC § 102 – Conditions for patentability; novelty and loss of right to patent
The “35 USC § 102” is an identifier or simply put, a way for you to easily find this law. Remember “law”….that’s how you can remember when you see “35 USC” where to look. Appendix L…which contains all the Patent Laws. So, 35 USC 102 simply referes to patent laws 102. Not 103. Not 101. But 102.
A more specific description, is this (according to wikipedia): Title 35 of the United States Code is a title of United States Code regarding patent law. The sections of Title 35 govern all aspects of patent law in the United States. There are currently 37 chapters, which include 376 sections (149 of which are used), in Title 35.
BACK TO 35 USC 102
As a quick reminder, when you are filing an application on something you think is a novel invention, before it is allowed to issue as a patent, it is subjected to some tests. The USPTO requires that the claimed invention not be obvious to someone of ordinary skill in the art (someone who knows something about the inventions “field”) at the time of the invention’s creation. This person is assumed to know all of the “Prior Art.”
WHAT IS PRIOR ART?
35 USC 102 answers this exact question: Prior art is anything, and everything, that meets or satisfies any of the conditions (there are 7 of them…A through G) set forth in 35 USC 102.
One way to think about patents is this way: A patent does this: It both EXCLUDES (prevents others from claiming the same invention) and it also serves as PRIOR ART (which then allows it to defeat/overcome other individuals patent applications)
As mentioned, there are 7 conditions set forth in 35 USC 102:
Here are some mnemonics / acronyms to try and help!
35 USC 102 –
(a) Already or Annual (within the last year)
(b) Before or Bar (Statutory)
(c) “C” or Sea (out to sea….abandoned)
(d) Deuce (4 conDitions)
(e) Egress (by Another)
(f) Fraud (someone else’s patent/invention)
In the future, we’ll go through the specifics of 35 USC 102, but for now…open up Appendix L, do some google searches, sign up with Wysebridge and read our summaries , and start learning the 35 USC 102.
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