Qualifying for a Patent FAQ
What types of inventions are not eligible for patent protection?
2. What types of inventions are not eligible for patent protection?
Some types of inventions will not qualify for a patent, no matter how interesting or important they are. For example, mathematical formulas, laws of nature, newly discovered substances that occur naturally in the world, and purely theoretical phenomena -- for instance, a scientific principle like superconductivity -- have long been considered unpatentable. In addition, the following categories of inventions don't qualify for patents:
- processes done entirely by human motor coordination, such as choreographed dance routines or a method for meditation
- most protocols and methods used to perform surgery on humans
- printed matter that has no unique physical shape or structure associated with it
- unsafe new drugs
- inventions useful only for illegal purposes, and
- non-operable inventions, including "perpetual motion" machines (which are presumed to be non-operable because to operate they would have to violate certain bedrock scientific principles).