Understanding Patented Technology & Innovation

Understanding Patented Technology & Innovation

The landscape for businesses is getting increasingly more competitive, meaning businesses need to find all the ways they can to hold on to their advantages. Patents for technology are a method businesses can use to protect their intellectual property from being replicated without permission, meaning they can keep their advantage.

This is becoming especially prominent within the technology industry, as the largest tech companies, such as Apple and Google, are submitting an increasing number of patent applications, due to the advantages they provide.

What is Patented Technology?

A patented innovation is safeguarded by the Patent Office, ensuring that the technology cannot be manufactured, utilised, or traded commercially without the explicit consent of the patent owner. This exclusive entitlement to the invention remains valid for a period of 20 years in the country where the patent was granted.

What Technology Can Be Patented?

There are three main patent types of patented technology:

  • Design patents: A design patent provides legal protection for the distinctive visual attributes of a manufactured item, granted for products featuring unique shapes, configurations, or surface decorations.
  • Plant patents: A plant patent is an intellectual property right safeguarding key characteristics of a novel plant from being replicated, sold, or utilised by others. This is only valid for distinct or new plants.
  • Utility patents: A utility patent covers the creation of a new or improved product, process, or machine, that can prove its improvement is useful. A utility patent, also known as a “patent for invention,” prohibits other individuals or companies from making, using, or selling the invention without authorisation.

These types of patented technology cover various inventions, such as processes, machines, compositions, and unique designs.

What Technology Can’t Be Patented?

There can be some complexity that arises when it comes to the subject of a technology’s patentability. While most tangible objects like CPU chips are patentable, some intangible objects in the digital realm also qualify for being granted a patent, such as software, coding, network systems, and computer security.

However, patentability does not apply to all software-related inventions. Certain technological advancements fall outside the scope of patent eligibility. Examples of non-patentable elements include:

  • Source Code Isolation: Code fragments devoid of association with a program, system, or invention.
  • Abstract Ideas: Concepts lacking tangible, practical applications.
  • Algorithms in Isolation: Algorithms without a broader context or application.
  • Idea for a Computer Program or Technology Function/Method: Conceptual notions lacking concrete implementation.
  • Business Methods: Strategies and approaches for conducting business operations.

The complexity that technology in particular introduces means having the right legal expertise and patent knowledge is crucial to navigate the nuanced boundaries of patent law and determine eligibility.

Patent Application Guidelines

To optimise the likelihood of a patent application’s approval, an inventor should adhere to essential guidelines:

  • Novel: Ensure the invention stands out, avoiding similarities with existing prior art to prevent rejection.
  • Non-Obviousness: Demonstrate that the invention isn’t an obvious development, beyond the creative reach of an ordinary person in the relevant field.
  • Utility: Emphasise practicality over theory, showcasing the invention’s tangible and applicable benefits.
  • Clear and Comprehensive Description: Clearly describe how the patented invention works within the patent application, enabling an ordinary person to replicate it successfully. Clarity and completeness are crucial for understanding and validation.


What Are The Advantages of Patented Technology?


Patents offer extensive protection and benefits to their holders. They grant exclusive rights to an invention for around 20 years, preventing unauthorised use and providing a legal framework to safeguard investments. The exclusivity provides a competitive edge, differentiating products or processes and establishing market leadership.

Financial Gain

Patents provide significant financial advantages for inventors and businesses. The exclusive rights granted by a patent allow inventors to licence their technology to third parties, resulting in revenue through royalties. Licensing agreements can establish a consistent income flow, especially when the patented invention or process is groundbreaking and in high demand.

Legal Protection

Patents serve as legal deterrents, dissuading potential infringers from unlawfully utilising an inventor’s intellectual property. If someone does infringe upon a patented invention, the patent holder has the option to initiate legal proceedings to uphold their rights and pursue suitable compensation.

The patent system provides a strong mechanism to safeguard inventors against infringement, enabling them to protect their innovative ideas and investments effectively.

Big Tech Companies Increase Their Patented Technologies

For more proof of the importance of utilising patents for technology, look no further than the trend of leading technology companies such as Google, Apple & Microsoft. These big tech companies, and many others, have significantly intensified their involvement in patent activities.

From 2009 onwards, the “big five” have collectively filed 52,000 patents, led by Microsoft with 16,840 filings. Google follows closely with 14,596, trailed by Apple, Amazon, and Facebook. On average, these companies submit around 10,000 patent applications annually.

This trend indicates a rising interest in patent applications within the technology sector, with a specific focus on artificial intelligence, as part of their IP strategies. The increase of AI-related patents by these companies suggests a strategic emphasis on thought processes in machines. Considering the surge in popularity AI image generation tools and AI writing tools have had, it makes sense that big tech companies are looking to invest more in this area going forwards.

Easily Check Existing Patented Technology with Minesoft

With an increasing number of companies looking to patent their technology, it can be difficult to know what prior arts are now already protected. Minesoft has a range of powerful patent search tools that make the process of searching for patented technologies and prior arts much more efficient.

Get in touch with our team of experts today, and see for yourself how your business can benefit from the power of tools like Minesoft Origin, which offers advanced patent search and analysis capabilities.

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