Many Americans know that the United States Patent Office is a government agency and as such is paid for by taxpayers money to provide government benefits to inventors. Unfortunately, this belief is not true in a number of different ways.
Most American cannot describe the rights provided by a United States Patent. Some believe that patents protect inventors. In a general sense, that belief is true. However, the belief that the United States Patent Office will pay benefits if a patent is infringed is incorrect. A patent is not an insurance policy against infringement; that is, the United States Patent Office does not pay monies to an inventor in the event of infringement of the patent.
Unites States Patents issue at noon on Tuesdays. Many watch the weekly issuance of United States Patents to monitor new developments in a field of interest. Others look for the patenting activity of competitors. While patents may provide fertile source of new products for businesses, few businesses sift through patents for new product ideas. The United States Patent Office is not a marketing business. Despite the belief of many, the United States Patent Office does not send new patents to businesses or industries to suggest new product ideas. The Unites States Patent Office is not a clearing house for creating relationships between inventors and businesses or industry. Rather, the Unites States Patent Office plays no role in offering inventions to businesses or industry. Any efforts to offer inventions to businesses or industry must be undertaken by the inventor or the owner of a United States Patent.
While the United States Patent Office represents that greatest concentration of knowledge concerning the meaning of a patent, the United States Patent Office take no role in determining patent infringement. The United States Patent Office does not pursue infringers. The Unites States Patent Office does not issue advisory opinions on patent infringement. The United States Patent Office does not offer a registry of infringers or even provide an advisory hearing forum for inventors believing a patent has been infringed. Patent infringement is a determination that is left to patent professionals. Seeking remedies for patent infringement falls within the province of the Federal Courts. The Untied States Patent Office engages in extensive discussions with the patent offices of other nations regarding the process of obtaining patents. However, the United States Patent Office does nothing for inventors regarding assuring protection for an individual invention outside the United States. Thus, the United States Patent Office is not an advocate for individual inventors for the purpose of either obtaining a patent outside the United States or commercializing an invention outside the United States.
Cartoonists often depict inventors holding inventions with their lap when sitting before a door marked “Patent Office”. Models of inventions are not required to apply for a patent. Surprising to some is that the United States Patent Office does not test inventions. That is, the Unites States Patent Office does not have a testing laboratory nor does the United States Patent Office retain testing labs to evaluate inventions. Rather, the United States Patent Office takes the word of the inventor that the invention works to solve the problem solved by the inventor. The only time that the United States Patent Office will reject the inventor’s claim or operability is if the invention violated the laws of thermodynamics, physics or does something known to be impossible such as growing hair on a billiard ball.
The bottom line is that the Unites States Patent Office is in the business of granting patents on inventions that meet the statutory requirements of patentability and little else. The United States Patent Office does not advocate for inventors in the marketplace or against infringers. Those functions are left up to the inventor.