Patentable Subject Matter
Section 101 of the Manual for Patent Examination Procedure (MPEP) lists four categories under which subject matter for a patent application should fall under. The four categories are:
1. a process
2. a machine
3. a manufacture
4. a composition of matter
5. or any new and useful improvement of the above.
A process is an art or method of achieving a result. For example, a method of organizing information, a method of waste water treatment, etc. A machine is a concrete device consisting of parts which are movable or immovable to perform a given function. For example, a telephone answering machine, a slot machine, etc. A manufacture/ article of manufacture is an article which is manmade or produced by a machine. For example, a footwear, a pen, a chair, etc. A composition of matter is a combination of two or more substances resulting from a chemical amalgamation, or a mechanical mixture, or from a mixture of substances such as gases, fluids, powders or solids. For example, an alloy composition, a dietary fiber composition, etc. A new and useful improvement of a process, machine, an article of manufacture and a composition of matter also fall under patentable subject matter. For a successful grant of a patent application subject matter of the patent application has to fall under the four categories listed above. Subject matter of a patent application which cannot be patented includes, for example, laws of nature, physical phenomena, scientific theory, abstract ideas, printed matter, etc.
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