MPEP Q & A 149: Four Categories of Invention Recited in 35 U.S.C. 101

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Question:

What are the 4 categories of invention recited in 35 U.S.C. 101?

Answer:

The four categories of invention recited in 35 U.S.C. 101 are: process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.

Chapter Details:

The answer to this question can be found in chapter 700 of the MPEP. This chapter covers Examination of applications.

The answer is from the 9th Edition, Revision 07.2015. Depending on future changes to the MPEP, the question and answer may be applicable in later Editions or revisions.

Section Summary:

This question and answer comes from section 706 of the MPEP.  The following is a brief summary of section 706.

706 Rejection of Claims

This section describes some of the various reasons why an examiner may reject the claims of an application and how the applicant can overcome these rejections.

The requirements for patentability include patent eligible, useful, novel, nonobvious, enabled, and clearly described. These criteria are outlined in 35 U.S.C. 101, 102, 103, and 112 and will determine the basis of an examiner’s rejection of the claims at any time during the prosecution of the application.

35 U.S.C. 101 deals with what is patentable. If the disclosed subject matter is not a process, manufacture, machine or composition of matter made by man, and/or it has no utility, it will be rejected under 35 U.S.C. 101.

35 U.S.C. 102 discusses the conditions for patentability; novelty and the loss of the right to patent. The 102 laws state that the inventor listed on an application will be granted a patent unless he or she was not the first to invent the subject matter.

35 U.S.C. 103 relates to the obviousness of the subject matter. If the invention is found to be obvious in relation to the prior art, the applicant will not be granted a patent.

35 U.S.C. 112 relates to the description of the subject matter. If the patent application does not meet the standards outlined in 35 U.S.C. 112, it will be rejected.

This section includes a brief discussion on the uniform application of the patentability standard, defects in form or omission of a limitation, patentable subject matter disclosed but not claimed, and reconsideration of claims after reply by applicant.