What can be Patented: The Limits of Intellectual Property Rights
The idea of the patent has noble intentions. The concept was created to promote the progress of science and useful arts. In other words, it gives the people who define our culture and build our economy an incentive to keep working on the next big thing
In the general, an invention has to meet 4 different criteria in order to be patentable. It has to be:
-Of “Patentable Subject Matter”
The first three seem fairly logical. The last one is what makes patent law tricky, and has been the subject of many legal disputes. Generally, patentable subject matter has to be an actual invention that has commercial and/or industrial applications. The details on what is patentable vary from country to country somewhat. In general Europe’s requirements tend to be more specific compared to those of the United States, which are broader. In the U.S., this has made room for more intangible and abstract things to be patented- such as “financial products”.
Originally these requirements eliminated things such as artistic creations, mathematical formulae/algorithms, and living things.
In today’s world examples of each of these things have been patented”right down to parts of the human genome. This has led some to the conclusion that there is virtually nothing that cannot be patented, which has in turn caused many to criticize the way patents are awarded.