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Talk about how patents differ from other kinds of technical literature
How to search them
Not a patent attorney; not giving a strict intrepretation of the law.
IP: Your house, your car, and your civil rights are controlled and protected by laws.  YOUR IDEAS ARE NOT; not, that is, until you communicate them.  Ideas are intellectual property, and only when they are communicated, translated into writings, or realized in tangible objects do legal rights and obligations arise.  NO ONE is obligated to communicate ideas. But keeping them to yourself does not serve mankind.  Patenting your idea is a way to protect your intellectual property and contribute to the common good.  The authors of the U.S. Constitution understood this and empowered Congress “to promote the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to  Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
   A patent for an invention is a grant of a property right by the Government to the inventor acting through the Patent and Trademark Office.  The term of a patent is 20 years from the date an inventor first applies for the patent subject to the payment of appropriate maintenance fees. A patent is a “contract which gives the inventor “the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling” the invention during a limited time period.  What is granted is not the right to make, use, or sell, but the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention.  The inventor must provide a full public disclosure of information about the invention.
"claims," a brief statement in the body of the patent application that defines the scope of the business method.
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this chapter the terms trademark and mark are used to refer to both trademarks and service marks. A mark for goods ordinarily appears on a product or on its packaging, whereas a service mark appears in advertising for the service.
Patent law protects inventions (utility patents) and ornamental designs for articles of manufacture (design patents). Inventions protected by utility patents include any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter. Inventions can be electrical, mechanical, or chemical in nature. Examples of inventions protected by utility patents are a microwave oven, genetically engineered bacteria for cleaning up oil spills, a computerized method of running cash management accounts, and a method for curing rubber. Internet-related inventions protected by utility patents include communications protocols, data compression techniques, interfaces, networking methods, encryption techniques, interfaces, online payment systems, and information processing and retrieval technologies. In the area of e-commerce, patentable inventions and processes include electronic postage, electronic cash, and e-commerce business methods (discussed later in this chapter). Examples of manufactured articles protected by design patents are a design for the sole of running shoes, a design for sterling silver tableware, and a design for a water fountain.